See the picture, above? Once upon a time, when British people saw images like that, they were being asked to reach into their wallets and help starvation-hit people in developing countries. Now the country in danger is the UK.
Due to Conservative government policies, malnutrition – the principle cause of the “swollen belly disease” kwashiorkor – has tripled in the UK since 2009. According to the Mirror, the government tried to sneak the figures out last week, while MPs were on holiday, but they have been picked up by eagle-eyed journalists.
Malnutrition cases treated by the NHS have risen from 2,893 to 8,537 since that year. Kwashiorkor is caused by a lack of protein and is almost always fatal if left untreated, or if treatment starts too late.
The Department of Health has said it is committed to training staff so the early signs can be spotted and treatment put in place.
That’s not the point!
The issue is the fact that the Tories have allowed this disease to arise in the first place.
As readers are no doubt tired of reading by now, the UK is the fifth-largest economy in the world. There is enough cash here to ensure that nobody goes without.
But the Tories have rigged the system so most of the money goes to people who are already rich, while the benefit and healthcare systems – that should save the people they have impoverished – have also been starved of the resources they need.
The Telegraph has said the vast majority of the increased admissions involve elderly patients, with malnutrition only diagnosed after they were admitted to hospital for other reasons, such as a fall.
That paper quoted charities who said the figures were “shocking,” with vulnerable people being left to starve for want of help at home or in care homes.
Yet a majority of pensioners still, it seems, religiously vote Conservative – despite the fact that Tory policies are threatening them with early death.
According to Welfare Weekly, the UK’s largest food bank network, Trussell Trust, provided a record 1.6 million three-day emergency food supplies to people in crisis between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, a 19 per cent increase on the previous year. This included more than half a million children.
The charity blamed Universal Credit for leaving households without the financial means to feed themselves adequately.
And figures released on August 23 revealed that the NHS is spending only £3 a day on meals for each patient. How much nutrition are they going to get with that?
It seems clear that the Conservatives are failing vulnerable people across the spectrum, from children right through to pensioners – and justifying it with mealy-mouthed excuses.
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“But the Tories have rigged the system so most of the money goes to people who are already sick”
Do you mean already rich?
I suspect that the pensioners who religiously vote Conservative are not the ones at an immediate risk of suffering from kwashiorkor. They are the ones who benefited from rising house prices and the remaining secure jobs that survived the Thatcher cull of manufacturing industry. And have now payed off their mortgages, retired on a work pension and really don’t care about anybody else. No doubt , they tell themselves that they had it hard when younger but they worked away and now enjoy the fruits of their labour. And they cannot understand why there is homelessness, overcrowding, low pay, insecure employment etc. Many actually think that we have a functioning welfare state left and , probably, resent the fact!
PS I am an OAP myself. We are not all curmudgeonly, grumbling Brexiters. But most are.
I agree, GF – I think unfortunately there are too many pensioners who feel exactly as you say.
I am also an OAP who thankfully has never voted Tory, nor ever would!
I think I’ve got that. My belly looks fat but I am as thin as a rake. I have problems with stomach acid and have a hiatus hernia, and take esomezaprol which I have been told I’ll have to take for the rest of my life. I was also diagnosed with high blood sugar on the verge of type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol . The nurse said I was probably eating too many carbs and not enough protein. They said it wouldn’t prevent me from working though.