Redcar MP, Anna Turley, today challenged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on why hospital admissions for malnutrition on Teesside have increased under his Government.
A report by the Evening Gazette last week revealed admissions at Teesside hospitals had more than tripled in the past six years.
An increasing number of people on Teesside are also having to rely on emergency food parcels from local Food Banks. Before Christmas, Redcar Area Food Bank was giving out twice as much food as it was receiving.
In the House of Commons this evening, Anna said:
“The Secretary of State has spoken a lot today about trying to avoid unnecessary admissions to A&E. Could he tell me then, why admissions to A&E on Teesside as a result of chronic malnutrition have trebled under the Conservative government, and whether he thinks that is any reflection at all on their broader approach to public policy and tackling poverty in this country?”
In his response, the Health Secretary insisted a strong economy was delivering the resources to tackle these issues.
Following the debate, Anna said:
“After reading the Gazette’s report exposing this issue, I was appalled to see the number of people needing hospital treatment for malnutrition. In 2017, in a country as wealthy as Britain, it is a national disgrace that some people are being deprived of even a basic diet. People should not have to choose between eating properly and paying for other living costs.
“I took the opportunity to question the Health Secretary about this today because he was trying to blame too many people going to A&E for the crisis we are seeing in our hospitals. More people have been forced into this position due to the policies and decisions of his government. Cuts to social security and stringent sanctions have left vulnerable people living below the poverty line, and cuts to social care mean more older people are stuck in hospital waiting to get home.
“Jeremy Hunt’s response, or lack of it, shows he has no understanding of the real world consequences of his Government’s decisions.”