Survey shows society supports introduction of age discrimination regulation
Three quarters (77%) of British Geriatrics Society (BGS) members support the introduction of legislation against age discrimination in the NHS. In addition, 47% of the BGS, an association of medical practitioners and scientists, think the NHS is institutionally ageist.
The survey comes on the heels of a government announcement on age discrimination and the release of the NHS Constitution. On 21 January, the constitution stated: "You have the right not to be unlawfully discriminated against in the provision of NHS services including on grounds of age."
This has relevance as the Government has announced age discrimination legislation will be part of the forthcoming Equality Bill but current proposals mean the regulations may not be approved before the next election.
Help the Aged is calling on the Government to review its timetable. It notes 55% of BGS doctors said they were personally worried about how the NHS would treat them in old age.
Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said: "Each day without a new law, older people risk being ignored, misdiagnosed or even denied appropriate treatment. The right time to pass the new age regulations is alongside the new bill."
In addition, 66% of BGS specialists said, in their own experience, older people were less likely to have symptoms properly investigated and that they were less likely to be referred on for treatment.
Alex Mair, chief executive of BGS, said: "The proposed age regulations for health and social care will be integral to changing attitudes and ultimately improving care. The sooner we have these regulations in place the better it will be for older people."
The British Medical Association said it was worried about ageism in the NHS and would soon be issuing guidance to its members to help them tackle the problem.
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