Jonathan Ashworth
© Adam Gerrard/Daily Mirror
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has called increase in cases of malnutrition: 'a devastating verdict on Tory cuts, austerity and rising poverty'
Starvation diseases seen in poor countries have almost trebled in Britain under the Tories.

Malnutrition cases treated by the NHS have risen from 2,893 to 8,537 since 2009. One disease on the rise is kwashiorkor, which causes the swollen ­bellies familiar in reports from famine-stricken countries.

A severe form of malnutrition caused by an extreme lack of protein, usually found in developing countries, it is almost always fatal if not treated or if treatment is started too late.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: "These disgraceful increases in malnutrition are a devastating verdict on Tory cuts, austerity and rising poverty.

"It's unforgivable so many children suffer from malnutrition and ministers should be ashamed. Tackling poverty and deprivation will be Labour's priority." Malnutrition has been steadily rising in both adults and children since the Tories took power in 2010.

In 2009, under Labour, there were 202 cases in which children needed to be hospitalised. But last year that had gone up to 320.

The Department of Health said: "We are committed to training all health and care staff to spot the early signs so effective treatment can be put in place."

The figures for malnutrition cases were slipped out last week while MPs were on ­holiday.