People over 50 feel 'written off' by NHS
Published on 04 October 2013 01:00 PM
One in 10 people over the age of 52 feel that they are 'written off' by the NHS because of their age.
That is according to a new survey which found that 10% of men and 9% of women aged 52 to 59 feel they have received a poorer service from doctors or hospitals than younger patients.
The study found that more than one in three older people feel they have been a victim of age discrimination. Poorer people are most likely to report age discrimination, with men suffering more than women.
The findings suggest that the situation worsens with age, with 26% of people aged 52 and 59 saying they have felt victimised, compared to 37% of those aged 70 to 79.
‘We need to be more aware of the problem of ageism'
The findings come from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, carried out by researchers at UCL and ILC-UK.
Professor Andrew Steptoe, director of UCL's Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, said it is 'particularly concerning' that people over the age of 52 feel they have received poorer service or treatment from doctors or hospitals than younger people because of their age.
He added: 'Older people are an increasingly large proportion of the population, and we need to be more aware of the problem of ageism. Treating people of any age with respect and courtesy is good for society, and will help increase the wellbeing of senior citizens.'
Older people 'an increasingly large proportion of the population'
According to the survey, retired people feel they have encountered more prejudice than the older generation who are still in work.
Some 10% of respondents also feel that they receive a poorer service than younger people in shops and restaurants.
Jessica Watson, research and public affairs officer at ILC-UK, said millions of older people feel they are on the receiving end of age discrimination.
She added: 'We know from other research that the worries are not just perceived. For example, age discrimination in employment remains a significant barrier to working longer.
'We now have legislation in place to prevent discrimination on grounds of age, but this research highlights that we have a long way to go to change negative societal attitudes to age.'
Copyright Press Association 2013