Hundreds of people in Birmingham and the Black Country are being admitted to hospital with Victorian diseases like rickets, gout, and cholera.

Exclusive figures from NHS Digital show there were at least 655 occasions in 2017/18 on which people were treated as inpatients in hospitals in the area for one of 13 Victorian diseases in 2017/18.

The 13 diseases are gout, tuberculosis, malnutrition, whooping cough, measles, scurvy, typhoid, scarlet fever, diphtheria, mumps, rickets, cholera, and vitamin D deficiency.

An MP has said that rising levels of malnutrition are “the fault of this government” and that “the welfare state is becoming a cruel place [to live in]”.

Many of the illnesses included in the NHS data are linked specifically to malnutrition. They are classed as “Victorian” because they were commonly found in the 19th century, when poverty was rife.

The figures count what the NHS refers to as “finished admission episodes” in 2017/18.

This counts the first time a patient was admitted to hospital in the year and so does not necessarily reflect the number of people diagnosed with a Victorian illness, because a patient may have been readmitted to hospital at a later stage with a different illness.

More than half (310) of the finished admission episodes covered by the Birmingham and Black Country Area Team were for gout - a form of arthritis caused by excess uric acid in the bloodstream.

A further 150 were for tuberculosis and 50 were for scarlet fever.

Vitamin D deficiencies were the cause of 35 hospital admissions, and measles accounted for 45.

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Malnutrition saw 25 hospital admissions in our area while whooping cough and typhoid were responsible for 15 hospital admissions each.

Mumps - a contagious viral infection - saw 10 hospital admissions in 2017/18.

The NHS has rounded the figures to the nearest five.

The data also shows there were a handful of hospital admissions for rickets and cholera.

 

The total number is not known as the NHS suppresses figures below eight to protect the identity of individual patients.

Overall there were 13,260 hospital admissions for Victorian diseases across England in 2017/18 - a slight rise from 13,036 the previous year.

“It should not be okay"

MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “We now have a system where 14 million people are living in poverty and the current government is doing nothing to help them.

“Food bank usage has become normalised since the Tories came to power in 2010.

“It should not be okay that people are going to work and are coming home unable to afford to put food on the table.

“It is no surprise that hospital admissions for malnutrition are rising under a government that doesn’t care for its people.

“By not measuring food insecurity, the government doesn’t have to do anything about it.

“That is why my Food Insecurity Bill is asking the government to measure how many people this is affecting, so we can start to do something about it.

“Quite simply, we are in a welfare crisis where people are going hungry and malnourished and it is the fault of this government.

“The welfare state is becoming a cruel place.”

 

The second reading of the Food Insecurity Bill is due to be read next week and calls on the government to routinely measure household food insecurity in the UK.

The Department of Health and Public Health England were both contacted for comment.