NHS hospitals are to begin to offer food parcels to patients they believe are suffering from malnutrition, whilst the DWP has finally acknowledged, by its deeds if not its words, that benefits cuts cause foodbank use.
The number of people of people admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition has increased by almost 20% in the last year alone, from 5,469 to 6,520, the Guardian reports.
The European Nutrition for Health Alliance believes that the problem is much more severe, however, estimating that up to 40% of UK patients are malnourished when they are admitted to hospital.
Around the country, hospitals in Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester have set up foodbanks on their premises and have begun giving food parcels to patients.
Meanwhile, the DWP are piloting placing benefits advisers in foodbanks. Iain Duncan Smith told the Work and Pensions Committee:
“I am trialling at the moment a job adviser situating themselves in the food bank for the time that the food bank is open, and we are already getting very strong feedback about that.
“If this works and if the other food banks are willing to encompass this and we think it works, we think we would like to roll this out across the whole of the UK.”
The plan is a tacit admission that benefits problems are at the root of much of the increase in foodbank use, something which the DWP continues to deny officially.