‘Unacceptable that families are forced to rely on foodbanks’, says College Chair

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, featured in The Guardian today responding to a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the impact of hardship and deprivation on child health. Professor Hawthorne said:

"This report makes for troubling reading and shows the serious impact that growing deprivation is having on our children. The link between poverty and worsening health has long been established – financial hardship can take a physical, emotional, and psychological toll which can result in the development, or exacerbation of, multiple chronic conditions. Nutritional deficiencies, caused by the cost-of-Living crisis, result in poor attention and poor achievement at both primary and secondary school.

"It is unacceptable that a developed nation like the UK should see such a high number of children and families forced to rely on foodbanks, or that such a high number of schools and GP practices are having to step in to deal with the consequences of deprivation. Worryingly, GPs are increasingly being asked for support with non-medical items including access to council services and financial advice.

"With the election approaching, this crisis has to be addressed. General practice, and other public services, can't be expected to pick up the pieces - we're already facing unprecedented pressures as demand for our appointments increases in volume and complexity. The next Government needs to develop more ambitious national policy to urgently tackle the many factors contributing to the cost-of-living crisis and widening health inequalities, as well as investing in and supporting vital frontline services, including primary care."

Further information

RCGP press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.