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Sunday 25th February 2018

Mental health services 'closed to elderly'

31st March 2009

The Healthcare Commission has said that mental health care is not as easily available to people aged over 65 as it is to younger patients.


The Commission discovered that in four of the six mental health trusts they looked at, a decision about mental healthcare was "based as much on age as clinical need".

The Commission's chief executive Anna Walker said the situation was "unacceptable".

The researchers said that elderly people could not access healthcare due to overstretched services. As a result, they were often unable to use alcohol support services and psychological therapies.

Ms Walker said: "It is truly unacceptable that out of hours and crisis services were often not available to older people. There needs to be a fundamental shift towards providing care based on a person's clinical need rather than their age."

She added that in light of the fact that 25% of admissions for mental health inpatient care were for over 65s, the topic required "urgent attention".

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said they expected NHS trusts to improve the situation.

Another study carried out by the Commission of the 68 NHS specialist community mental health trusts in England discovered that nearly 50% of  patients aged under 65 could not call an out-of-hours number if they had a problem.


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