Isn’t it interesting that the official figures show malnutrition increasing hugely, year-on-year, from 2008 onwards – the year when Employment and Support Allowance was introduced – but the Conservative Government is insisting that no cause can be identified?
ESA, with the hated, nonsensical Work Capability Assessment that governs whether a claimant qualifies for the benefit, was introduced in 2008.
This Blog ran an article on the increase in malnutrition in November, but reader Tony Dean went further – requesting information from the Department of Health.
In the financial year 2007-8, there were 7,695 primary diagnoses of malnutrition – up from 6,704 the previous year. Secondary diagnoses had fallen from 58,344 the previous year to 57,052.
From then on, the figures started to increase – hugely. In 2015-16 there were 17,166 primary diagnoses of malnutrition and a massive 167,362 secondary diagnoses.
Primary diagnoses describe the most serious or resource-intensive condition suffered by a patient who is hospitalised for any period of time. A secondary diagnosis describes those conditions that coexist at the time of admission, or develop subsequently, and that affect the patient for the current episode of care.
So we are seeing not only an increase in malnutrition as an illness in its own right, but a massive increase in it as a contributory factor to other illnesses.
The information may be found here. It was provided by Health Under-Secretary Nicola Blackwood in response to a question by Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth in November.
Ms Blackwood said: “The cause of the malnutrition is not presented in these figures and it not possible to make assumptions on which factor was responsible for the admission.