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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Elderly forced to pay for care

29th September 2010

The new chairman of the House of Commons health committee has said that older people are being "unfairly forced" to pay for their own medical treatment.

Old Hands

Stephen Dorrell said elderly people who had conditions such as dementia had previously been able to access free treatment in health service geriatric units.

The amount of free places had decreased by 80% since 1990, with the number of geriatric places falling from over 80,000 in 1988 to 16,300 in 2009.

Mr Dorrell said this meant that some patients had to use the means-tested system where many had to pay for their care.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Dorrell said MPs needed to look closely at the problem, as he believed a specific group of people were at risk.

He said he thought this group included people with Parkinson's disease and those who suffered a stroke, in addition to dementia patients.

Mr Dorrell said: "People are being charged for care that they would have got free from the NHS 20 or 30 years ago. In effect there has been a change in the definition of what constitutes NHS care and that has happened without proper debate."

"I would not want to see a return to the old system of geriatric hospitals - care is much better now - but you have to question whether it is fair that this group of people are being charged in this way?" he added.

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