Starving Brits are asking GPs to prescribe nutritional shakes amid cost-of-living crisis

according to dr Helen, “working families” as opposed to those receiving benefits, turned up at a GP’s office in Bolton asking for help with grocery costs and nutritional milkshake recipes because they can’t afford to eat out as the cost of living continues to rise Wall

dr Helen Wall says she's had
dr Helen Wall says she’s had “working families,” unlike people on welfare who showed up in her practice who don’t eat at all

Starving Brits have turned up at GP surgeries, asking doctors to prescribe nutritional shakes and help with grocery shopping because they can’t afford the food.

dr Helen Wall says the “working families” she sees feel “humiliated” and “embarrassed” at seeking help with their financial woes.

dr Wall — who says she’s no stranger to patients with financial issues — believes the “last few weeks” have felt “different” because people who’ve had them have had patients with issues that wouldn’t have affected before.

Many come to her with concerns about not being able to pay their bills, not being able to pay them at all, or telling her they can’t do mundane things like a grocery store, she says Manchester evening news.

“It’s not just people on welfare, it’s working people,” she says.

“These are people who have to fill up their car to drive to work but don’t have a very high-paying job.”

dr Adds Well, “I’ve started seeing patients who aren’t eating or not eating well.

“Living off toast, living off fizzy, sugary drinks and doing it all day.

dr Wall says she’s always seen people from different economic backgrounds in her practice


(Getty Images)

“Patients desperately turn to us for help buying groceries, even when prescribed nutritional shakes [they’re] feeling so weak after paying their energy bills [paid for] Gasoline to get to work, which increases costs [mean they are] unable to eat.

“We would never prescribe supplements, that’s not the solution to the problem and it’s not the right thing to do.

“But people have been asking me and it’s really annoying to hear that.

“Somebody has to be in a really difficult place to get to that point.”

The medic’s concerns come as energy bills for around 22 million people are set to rise by £693 a year from early April.

People are also bracing for rising inflation and tax hikes, which will continue to rise in October.

A woman holds a placard reading “Freeze prices, not the poor” during a protest against rising cost of living in Manchester last month.


Manchester evening news)

To make matters worse, petrol costs are soaring as the war between Russia and Ukraine rages on and sanctions are also affecting the UK’s finances, the Chancellor warned ahead of his spring declaration on Wednesday.

Controversy surrounds Rishi Sunak’s announcement last month that 28million households will get a £200 “rebate” on their energy bills from October, as he said that money will come from increasing bills by £40 a year over five years from 2023 is reclaimed.

Up to one in four patients are concerned about the cost of living at their GP in Bolton, she estimates, at around £40 a day.

“All” of her practice colleagues see similar patterns.

It comes after Rishi Sunak announced millions of UK households will receive a £200 “rebate” on energy bills in October, which will be repaid over five years by increasing bills by £40 a year



She added: “It has now become a routine question when I see people with health conditions that could be affected by poor diet or not eating.

“It used to be, ‘Can you eat?’

“As in ‘Have you lost your appetite?’ Now it’s ‘Are you physically able to get something to eat?'”

The weight of financial worries can wreak havoc – only adding to the fatigue of a population already “mentally and financially battered” as it continues to cope with what has now been a two-year pandemic, according to the GP.

She said: “What struck me is that some of the patients I’ve spoken to over the last week or two are the embarrassment and humiliation that people feel.

“They tell the GP because some of them haven’t told their friends that they can’t afford the food because they don’t want the humiliation.

Doctors said many people who are struggling feel “embarrassed” and “humiliated”.


(Getty Images)

“Your friend or your doctor may not be able to fix this for you right away, but it will really help your mental health if you feel like you can share it.”

While his colleague, Dr. Murugesan Raja, who has not yet received such drastic requests from his patients, is concerned about the increasing use of food banks that he knows are using.

“Food poverty was already a big problem,” said the Fallowfield-based doctor.

Likewise says Dr. Faisal Bhutta, a GP in Hyde, said he too is aware that the practice’s local board has been “very busy” lately.

Bolton’s GP says she is exploring other ways they can help with food poverty, expecting the problem will only grow and voluntary groups or charities could be overwhelmed “by what’s to come”.

portrait of dr Murugesan Raja in front of his practice at Hawthorn Medical Centre.



dr Wall “hopes” to destigmatize financial problems so people feel comfortable “putting their hands up and saying I need help, I can’t survive like this”; and direct government intervention, such as a cap on cost-of-living increases.

In response to MEN’s questions that those living on the poverty line are urgently seeing their GP, a government spokesman said: “We are aware of the pressures people are facing in terms of the cost of living, which is why we value support of 21 billion pounds provide financial year and next to help.

“That includes putting an average of £1,000 more a year into the pockets of working families through Universal Credit changes, freezing fuel taxes to keep costs down and helping households on their energy bills through our £9.1 billion energy bill rebate £.

“We are also raising the minimum wage by more than £1,000 a year for full-time workers and our £500m Budget Support Fund is helping the most vulnerable with essential costs.”

But in the short term, less nutritious foods are often cheaper, Dr. wall.

And when people aren’t getting their basic vitamins and minerals, it can lead to a host of other medical problems, such as: B. delayed healing time, weakening of the immune system and a higher risk of infection.

Years later, this could lead to a rise in diabetes and heart disease — and that’s before mental health is even mentioned.

“People say things like, ‘I’m not worried about that because it could be worse, we could be in a war situation,'” sighs Dr. wall.

“There’s that guilt that things aren’t as bad as other people have them.

“All of this has an impact on people’s mental health.

“And it’s really worrying that we’re just standing on the sidelines of that and addressing it.

“We all know that unless something changes dramatically, it’s likely to get worse, not better.”

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