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Friday 28th October 2016

Will equality Bill help the elderly?

10th June 2008

Writing in The Telegraph, Tracy Corrigan argues that it isn’t the law that has failed elderly people.

Old Woman

It may be legal to deprive patients of NHS treatment on the grounds of age but if the government decides to include the provision of healthcare for the elderly in its new equality Bill, that could be about to change.

Healthcare provision is blatantly weighted against older people, a fact so often clearly enshrined in NHS practice.

Cost is one reason causing the government to hesitate on whether to include healthcare in the new Bill, though there are cases where it may be legitimate for age to be a relevant factor in deciding whether a person is eligible for medical treatment.

Should a kidney be given to a younger person, for example, because they will have a longer life expectancy with it?

Lawyers argue that more legislation is not necessarily the solution in this area and may not actually change anything.

There is no doubt that some old people in care homes suffer abuse – though there are laws which cover this but need to be enforced. There are also examples of the dismissive attitude healthcare professionals display toward the elderly.

While tighter and more transparent rules on the standards of healthcare that the elderly have a right to expect are indispensable, when it comes to their treatment, it is too easy to look at the law as having failed the elderly.

The fact is that it is perhaps with all of us where the greatest failure lies.


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