‘Public health emergency’ declared as one in six GPs was asked to refer a patient to food banks in the last year

20 Feb

Benefit tales

One in six family doctors has been asked to refer a patient to a food bank in the past year, a new survey has found, with GPs reporting that benefits delays are leaving people without money for food for weeks on end.

There are even rare reported cases of people visiting their GP with “sicknesses caused by not eating”, the leading food bank charity said.

Rising food poverty in the UK – driven by a combination of rising prices, stagnant wages, and reforms to welfare – has been described as an emerging “public health emergency” by academics and evidence from GP surgeries is matched by hospital diagnoses of malnutrition, which have nearly doubled in the past five years.

In a survey of 522 GPs, the magazine Pulse found that 16 per cent had been asked to refer a patient to food bank in the past 12 months. Many GP practices…

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