South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck (Image: NCJ Media) Hundreds of people in the North East are being admitted to hospital with Victorian diseases like gout and scarlet fever.
Data from NHS Digital show there were at least 805 occasions in 2017/18 when people were treated as inpatients in hospitals in the region for one of 13 Victorian diseases.
That is up from the 776 admissions the previous year.
The 13 diseases are gout, tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera, and vitamin D deficiency.
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said that rising levels of malnutrition are “the fault of this Government” and that “the welfare state is becoming a cruel place [to live in]”.
Many of the illnesses are linked specifically to malnutrition.
They are classed as “Victorian” because they were commonly found in the 19th century, when poverty was rife.
The figures count what the NHS refers to as “finished admission episodes” in 2017/18.
This counts the first time a patient was admitted to hospital in the year and does not necessarily reflect the number of people diagnosed with a Victorian illness, because a patient may have been readmitted to hospital at a later stage with a different illness.
More than half (495) of the finished admission episodes covered by the Durham , Darlington and Tees Area Team and the Cumbria, Northumberland , Tyne and Wear Area Team were for gout – a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream.
A further 120 were for scarlet fever and 50 were for tuberculosis.
There were 65 hospital admissions specifically for malnutrition, too.
Whooping cough, mumps, and vitamin D deficiencies were responsible for 25 hospital admissions each.
The NHS has rounded the figures to the nearest five.
The data also shows there were a handful of hospital admissions for measles and typhoid.
The total number is not known as the NHS suppresses figures below eight to protect the identity of individual patients.
Overall there were 13,260 hospital admissions for Victorian diseases across England in 2017/18 – a slight rise from 13,036 the previous year.
Mrs Lewell-Buck said: “We now have a system where 14 million people are living in poverty and the current Government is doing
nothing to help them.
“Food bank usage has become normalised since the Tories came to power in 2010.
“It should not be ok that people are going to work and are coming home unable to afford to put food on the table.
“It is no surprise that hospital admissions for malnutrition are rising under a Government that doesn’t care for its people.
“By not measuring food insecurity, the Government doesn’t have to do anything about it.
“That is why my Food Insecurity Bill is asking the Government to measure how many people this is affecting, so we can start to do something about it.
“Quite simply, we are in a welfare crisis where people are going hungry and malnourished and it is the fault of this Government.
“The welfare state is becoming a cruel place.”
The second reading of the Food Insecurity Bill is due to be read next week and calls on the Government to routinely measure household food insecurity in the UK.
The Department of Health and Public Health England were both contacted for comment.
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