Stroke care failing elderly16th April 2009
A charity for the elderly has raised concerns that ageism in the NHS means older people are getting poorer stroke care than younger people.
The alert from Age Concern and Help the Aged is in response to findings in a study from the Mayday Hospital in London.
From 379 patients, researchers found only one in 20 victims aged 75 were given an MRI scan to diagnose the type of stroke they had sustained compared with a quarter of younger patients.
The findings were described by the charity as a "shocking example of ageism in the NHS".
Strokes are the third biggest cause of death in the UK behind cancer and heart disease, claiming 50,000 lives a year with the majority of victims among the elderly.
In England, the government has made tackling strokes a priority and is part way through a three-year £100m strategy to provide early access to diagnosis and treatment for strokes.
Lead researcher Dr Karen Kee said: "A change in the attitude of healthcare professionals is needed to root out ageism. The investment in stroke services following the strategy has been welcome, but we must do more to provide equal access.
"The results of this study possibly reflect negative views, attitudes and behaviours of healthcare professionals towards older patients."
Michelle Mitchell, of Age Concern and Help the Aged, said: "Older people aren't asking for special treatment, but the same access to healthcare and medicine as everyone else."
The Department of Health said the new Equality Bill would end unfair age discrimination.
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Title: Stroke care failing elderly
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 11004
Date Added: 16th Apr 2009