Surgery age limits warning

Thousands of elderly patients are needlessly dying because they are being denied treatment on the grounds of their age, a report has found.

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Health minister: 'Patients should be treated as individuals'

There should be absolutely no place in the NHS for assumptions about entitlement to treatments that are based on age or any other form of unjustified discrimination.

All patients should be treated as individuals, with dignity and respect, and receive care that meets their healthcare needs - irrespective of their age.

The Government is committed to providing dignity in elderly care, and at the beginning of October we introduced an Age Discrimination Ban, which means that all patients will receive a more personalised care service, based on their individual needs, not their age.

– Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter

Report presents 'worrying figures'

This report presents some worrying figures. We need to look at them carefully to examine whether they are the result of arbitrary decisions taken solely on the basis of age, or because some non-surgical treatments could offer greater benefit, or a patient chooses not to undergo surgery.

We know that prejudicial attitudes against older people still pervade through society but the NHS and its staff should close the door to such unacceptable behaviour.

– NHS Confederation chief executive Mike Farrar

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Charity: 'Date of birth tells you very little'

"When it comes to peoples' health, their date of birth actually tells you very little.

A healthy living 80-year-old could run rings round someone many years younger who does not share the same good health.

Yet in the past, too many medical decisions we believe have been made on age alone with informal cut-offs imposed so that people over a certain age were denied treatment.

This report shows the large gap between the number of people living with a condition or health need and the surgery rates to treat older people.

– Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK

'Surgery rates decline' for elderly patients

Thousands of elderly patients are needlessly dying because they are being denied treatment on the grounds of their age, a report found. Credit: Reuters

The report found that surgery rates decline for people as they grow older for a number of treatments including breast cancer operations, joint replacements, prostate cancer treatments and hernias.

While the incidence of breast cancer peaks in patients aged 85 and older, surgery rates decline sharply from the age of 70, the figures indicate.

Pensioners are the main group to receive hip and knee replacements but the rates of surgery in England dropped sharply in patients over the age of 70, according to the data which examines the number of operations between 2008 and 2011.

Warning against surgery age limits

Thousands of elderly patients are needlessly dying because they are being denied treatment on the grounds of their age, a report has found.

It showed that surgical treatments, which can prolong life and improve living standards for older patients, have been shown to decline as patients get older.

But as the population ages and people are living longer lives, doctors have a "moral duty" to properly care for older patients, according to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

They said that surgeons should no longer look at a patient's age to assume whether they are suitable for surgery, instead their overall health should be taken into consideration, according the report which was conducted by the RCS, Age UK and MHP Health Mandate.

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