A group of GPs have written an open letter to the Government on its decision to refuse to provide free meals to children in poverty over the Christmas holidays
As frontline GPs we are very aware of the effects of deprivation, poverty and malnutrition in both physical and mental health, and also that adverse life experiences in childhood including malnutrition are significant risk factors for development of chronic disease in later life.
We are aware that many families, just about managing previously, are being pushed over the brink into poverty by the effects of the current pandemic on work and income.
We are very concerned by the refusal of Government to heed the calls from Marcus Rashford MBE, the RCPCH and many others with real knowledge of the situation to provide meals for those entitled to free school meals over the Christmas holiday period.
We are also deeply concerned by the unworthy smear attempts by certain MPs to label those in receipt of benefits and social support as feckless drug addicts, and to suggest that they would use any food vouchers to purchase drugs; this is not at all our experience as frontline GPs.
We are saddened by the decision of so many MPs, particularly those allegedly representing constituents in deprived areas of England, to reject and vote against the Labour amendment last week, and we call on the Government to think again and release the relatively small amount of funds necessary to ensure that no child in England goes hungry this Christmas.
Dr Alan Woodall
Dr Andrew Parkin
Dr Scott Queen
Dr Tahlil Rashid
+ more than 100 other GPs