Older patients miss out on vital treatment because of their age

  • Assumptions about fitness in older people should not be used to decide whether patients have surgery, according to a report by the Royal College of Surgeons and Age UK.

    The report says that when budgets are tight, some older patients miss out on vital treatment because of their age despite age discrimination in the NHS has been made illegal; age discrimination by NHS hospitals was outlawed at the beginning of October in a decision that applied across England, Wales and Scotland. Patients will be able to sue if they are denied care solely because of their age.

    When normally doctors should look at the overall health of a patient instead of using cut-off ages for procedures, some doctors may have "outdated perceptions" and a "lack of awareness" about older patients and their ability to cope with surgery.

    The report, Access All Ages, points out that there are valid reasons why an older patient might not be considered for surgery - because they have other health problems that increase the risk of operations, or that they themselves prefer not to go under the knife.

    However, the report said:

    While there may be legitimate clinical reasons why an older person may not benefit from surgery, it remains the case that some patients may be missing out.

    Decisions may not always be made on the basis of a comprehensive and objective assessment, but on a series of assumptions about fitness in older age.

    The report highlighted rates of breast cancer, which are at their highest in women above the age of 85. However, the highest surgery rate was in women two decades younger.

    Michelle Mitchell, from Age UK, said:

    When it comes to people's health, their date of birth actually tells you very little.

    A healthy living 80-year-old could literally run rings round someone many years younger who does not share the same good health.

    Yet in the past too many medical decisions, we believe, have been made on age alone with informal 'cut-offs' imposed so that people over a certain age were denied treatment.

    The NHS Confederation's chief executive Mike Farrar said:

    We know that prejudicial attitudes against older people still pervade through society, but the NHS and its staff should close the door to such unacceptable behaviour.




Related articles

  • Read More

    Older people need more male carers

    Professor Martin Green has said that the government needs to do more to recruit males into front-line adult social care roles, reports the BBC.Prof Green has said that with the increasing number of...

  • Read More

    Survey finds older people have better quality of life in retirement villages than care homes

    Chief executive of Audley Retirement, Nick Sanderson, has said that demand for his form of extra-care housing was so strong he could not build homes fast enough, reports the Guardian.He said: “I...

  • Read More

    Older people’s Commissioner disappointed by Welsh Government

    Sarah Rochira, Wale’s Commissioner for older people has said she is “extremely disappointed” at the response from the Welsh Government to its call for action to protect residents in care homes,...

  • Read More

    Charity warns of loneliness in older people

    The Campaign to End Loneliness charity want a “range of support” for older people to help them fight loneliness, reports the BBC. The charity says that transport and technology are essential to...

  • Read More

    New housing for older people promised

    Members of Kensington and Chelsea’s cabinet have decided to create 150 new homes for older people on the site of a care home that closed down in 2014 due to Legionella, reports Get West...

  • Read More

    New drug provides hope for older people with Parkinsons

    Scientists have found that people taking glitazone pills were less likely to develop Parkinson’s than people taking other diabetes drugs. However, they have cautioned that the drugs could have...

  • Read More

    Lack in dignity when caring for older people in hospital

    In a poll from 2012 it has been found that poor care is most likely to be experienced by people over the age of 80, reports the BBC. Over a third of patients who need help at mealtimes did not...

  • Read More

    New housing development for older people in Sunderland

    A 16.3m housing and care scheme has been opened by the Leader of Sunderland Council, reports Sunderland Echo.The accommodation provides 158 two-bedroom apartments for older people and 17 one bed...

  • Read More

    Social care cuts leaving older people stranded

    Age UK is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to put an end to cuts to social care funding due to the increasing rate the older population is growing, reports the Yorkshire Post. Age UK has...

  • Read More

    Charity wants priority for older people in housing

    Erosh represents organisation providing housing and support to 120,000 older people and has written to new government ministers in opposition, reports Inside Housing.The letter calls on ministers to...

Responding to the DWP Consultation:  Housing Benefit Reform - Supported Housing "I found the event informative and timely it helped me to complete our response to DWP without which I would have struggled." S.S. - Safe House


Briefing Signup