16,000 cases of malnutrition were reported by hospitals last year, a shocking 400% rise over the last ten years, the Mirror reports.
Equally alarmingly, 900 of the reports were classed as severe, meaning the person involved was in danger of starving to death.
The Mirror quotes Simon Capewell, professor of public health at Liverpool University and vice president of the Faculty of Public Health, as saying:
“Severe malnutrition is very serious and can be fatal. And what is really worrying is that for every person admitted to hospital, there will be five times that number getting care in out-patient clinics, and another 50 times that number getting care from their GP.
“These figures are only the absolute tip of the iceberg.”
The shock figures come hard on the heels of a warning by Tesco boss Mat Davies last week that ‘lethal’ food prices rises are on the way:
“Everybody should be very clear how damaging inflation is to the economy, to retail businesses, to manufacturing businesses and how lethal it can be to millions of people who are struggling to live from week to week.”
Given the freezing of many benefits, the delays in processing and paying claims and the fact that the Trussell Trust lists benefits delays as the number one reason for people using their food banks, the warning is a particularly troubling one for benefits claimants.