Foodbanks and Men in Black

by Northern Life

This column is not what it should be as it’s deadline day and I’m in a bit of a state. I can’t write something funny and entertaining because I can’t stop crying and I can’t stop crying because I’ve just given a parcel of food to a nurse.

This is one of the nurses who looked after my father in law, Dr Luke Collins, when he was dying in Blackburn hospital.

My father-in-law held the position of Medical Officer of Health for the district from 1959 and had been a practising doctor and surgeon before the NHS was even founded. It would have broken his heart to know that one of his nurses was in this position. And she’s not the only one.


“I went into nursing to make people better,” she told me, “but the hospitals are so overstretched that we’re forced to send people home before they’re fit enough and when we know there’s inadequate support for them at home.”

This story was echoed by another mum-of-three who had to leave nursing when she became ill through stress at work. I’ve been taking food to her for a few weeks now because she cannot manage to feed herself as well as her children on the sick pay she receives.

I can’t write any more so I’m going to copy and paste an extract from a short story I wrote last year. It was supposed to be a work of fiction…

The newly elected government has banned Foodbanks, saying “It has been evident for some time that it is the supply of free food by the Foodbanks that is creating the demand and dragging our country into an abyss of self-pity. We all need to tighten our belts but remain dignified.”

Laura, a nurse tells us what she fears: “I thought the Government knew people would end up in hospital when they banned the foodbanks; that it was just their way of culling the poor. One minute it’s badgers and the next it’s the poor sods who can’t make ends meet.

“The ones like my neighbour on zero hours contracts, the ones being paid less than the minimum wage because they daren’t argue about it. The thing is, they wanted us to believe that all the people starving were the ones who were too lazy to work but we soon saw the lies in that.

“When buses were cancelled because there weren’t enough drivers any more, when the streets piled up with rubbish, when the Army had to step in at the hospitals, not just because there were so many more malnutrition patients but because there were so many less nurses.

“That shocked people; nurses ending up in hospital beds because they were not making enough money to feed themselves and their families. I worried that the men in black would creep into those hospital wards in the dead of night and put something in the drip feeds to quickly do away with the lot of them.”