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The former Labour leader was commenting on reports that treatments of for scurvy and malnutrition have more than doubled since the Tories rose to power in 2010. In a tweet, Mr Corbyn wrote: “This is the human impact of Tory rule in the interests of the one percent – scurvy and malnutrition on the rise. Boris Johnson should hang his head in shame. They are unfit to govern.”
Mr Corbyn’s view prompted Twitter user @AdyP to fire back: “That’s cobblers. Malnutrition almost certainly down to inadequate parents. Food is less a % of income than at any time in U.K. history.”
@percypacker wrote: “The inadequate parents that just sort of appeared over the last 11 years?”
Supporter @MomoQuasi shot back: “If food is such a small % of income why has dependence on foodbanks rocketed in recent years?”
Shadow health secretary, Jon Ashworth, told the Metro the figures were “a shameful verdict on a decade of Conservative government”.
He said: “Poverty makes you ill and illness often traps you in poverty. Tackling the causes of ill health and inequalities is central to Labour’s health plan.”
NHS figures show people were treated in hospital for malnutrition 4,657 times in the financial year 2010/11 rising steadily to 10,109 in the financial year 2020/21.
Treatments for scurvy, which is caused by not having enough Vitamin C in your diet, have also been heading upwards from 82 in 2010/11 to 171 in 2020/21.
However, the numbers also show malnutrition was on the rise before the 2010 general election which saw the Conservatives and Lib Dems form a coalition.
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Under Labour, in the financial year 2007/08, the NHS treated people for malnutrition 2,702 times, rising to 3,161 the following year and 3,773 in 2009/10.
The data shows 61 treatments for scurvy in 2007/08, 47 in 2008/09 and 70 in 2009/10.
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.
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“Malnutrition is a serious condition and we are working with the NHS and public health organisations to tackle its root causes.”
According to the NHS, malnutrition happens when a person’s diet does not contain the right amount of nutrients.
It can refer to not getting enough nutrients or getting more than is needed.
The NHS describes malnutrition as a common problem affecting millions in the UK, though it is more prevalent among people with long-term health conditions, including Crohn’s disease.
It is also common among people who are isolated socially or have restricted mobility or are on lower incomes.
Treatment varies depending on a person’s health as well as the level of malnutrition, but the NHS advises people to eat fortified foods, to snack between meals and to have drinks containing lots of calories.
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