Cases of the Victorian era illness scurvy have more than doubled in the last decade and people cannot believe it.
The Mirror reported on NHS Digital statistics revealing that hospital reported cases of scurvy – a severe form of vitamin C deficiency which can cause fatigue, bruised skin, swelling of the limbs and tooth loss – increased from 82 in 2010-11 to 171 in 2020-21, though these numbers are still relatively low.
The stats also revealed that hospital admissions for malnutrition have doubled since the Conservatives came to power in the 2010 election. In the 2010/2011 financial year, people were treated in hospital 4,657 times for the condition. By the most recent year, 2020/2021, this had risen to 10,109.
The statistics do not include the cause of a patient’s malnutrition or deficiency and the overall rise cannot be linked to one particular factor though the Mirror noted that food bank use has increased since 2010 and the Tories’ austerity measures, which could impact people’s diets.
Indeed, the Trussell Trust said it provided 2.5 million parcels in the UK in 2020/21 – a 33 per cent rise on the previous year. However, the reasons why people use food banks are complex and wide ranging.
Reacting to the news, people thought it was bizarre that the UK had seemingly returned to the Victorian era and many people blamed the Conservative party.
Scurvy comes back under Tories. Christ, what next? Rickets,TB, blacking factories for kids?https://t.co/8UnIHKtmKs
— David Patrikarakos (@David Patrikarakos)
"Scurvy is on the rise in the UK, as malnutrition cases double under Tory rule" isn't a headline I ever thought I'd… https://t.co/PlZ1osfHSY
— Owen Williams 🏴 (@Owen Williams 🏴)
Speaking to The Mirror, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also blamed Conservative rule. He said: “This is a shameful indictment on a decade of the Tories.
“Poverty is driving greater illness and illness also often traps people in poverty.
“The Government’s promises to ‘level up’ are exposed as utterly hollow. While deprivation worsens, the Tories refuse to tackle hunger in society.”
A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to levelling up and reducing health inequalities across the country. This is why we have launched the new Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to ensure everyone can live healthy, happy lives”
“Malnutrition is a serious condition and we are working with the NHS and public health organisations to tackle its root causes.”