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Exclusion of Over 65's



Well-known member
Founding Member
Feb 14, 2008
Birmingham UK
A damning report from the Healthcare Commission showing how the Over 65's are excluded from MH services.....


>>NHS services for older people with mental health problems need "urgent attention", a watchdog said today.

People over 65 are often discriminated against because of their age and can find themselves excluded from specialist services, according to the Healthcare Commission.

Its report found that some elderly people were shut out of services on the basis of cost while others were not referred on by their GP.

Experts examined six mental health trusts expected to be at the high, mid and low end of performance.

Overall, more than 600 people were spoken to, including staff, carers, patients and social workers.

National data on accessing mental health services was also analysed for the study, although the report's authors noted that such data was lacking.

Two trusts were found to be treating people on the basis of need rather than age but other trusts were lagging behind.

The report said: "Most trusts were struggling to make progress, and older people were denied access to the full range of mental health services that are available to younger adults.

"In particular, there was poor access to out-of-hours and crisis services, psychological therapies and alcohol services."

Around 40% of older people who visit their GP are estimated to have a mental health problem, as are 50% of older people in hospital and 60% of those in care homes.

More than a quarter of admissions to mental health inpatient services are for people over the age of 65.

Today's report - Equality in Later Life - noted that mental health problems among older people will become more of an NHS burden in the future.

With an increasingly ageing population, more and more people will suffer from diseases like dementia, which currently costs the UK economy more than £17 billion a year.

At present, around 700,000 people in the UK have dementia but this figure is expected to rise to more than a million by 2025.

The Healthcare Commission study found that older people were not often given access to out-of-hours services or those aimed at helping people suffering a mental health crisis.

Such services mostly only took referrals for people under the age of 65, or for conditions other than dementia, it said.

"Even when there was no explicit policy about discrimination on the basis of age, staff often reported that although the rules did not prevent referring older people, in actual practice accessing the full range of services for older people was often not possible," the report went on.

Although access to services for alcohol and substance misuse were "theoretically available", they were either offered in a way that was not appropriate for older people or were simply unavailable for referrals.

When it came to psychological therapies, services were often poor, the Commission noted.

One trust reported a waiting list of six months for an assessment while another trust found that, in an audit of 1,300 referrals to psychological therapies from GPs, only 49 were for people over the age of 65.

Some staff said patients deemed to be high risk to the public were given priority, as were those where Government targets applied.

Most trusts had made some progress in identifying issues surrounding age discrimination but others had a long way to go, the report found.

Patients and carers were generally positive about the support and training available but some felt they were pushed "from pillar to post" when attempting to contact someone about the care on offer.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said: "There needs to be a fundamental shift towards providing care based on a person's clinical need rather than their age."

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "It's scandalous that older people are often denied access to vital mental health services because they're deemed too old."

A second study from the Commission, also published today, found that almost half of people under 65 needing specialist mental healthcare still do not have an out-of-hours number if they are in a crisis.

Meanwhile, 55% of people with schizophrenia have not been offered recommended psychological therapies.

The study, which looked at all 68 NHS specialist community mental health trusts in England, found some improvements in 2007/08 compared with a similar report in 2005/06.

However, it said there was "significant room" for improvement before all trusts were meeting best practice and guidelines issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (Nice).

In the 2007/08 report, 54.7% of patients said they had an out-of-hours contact, up from 49.5% in 2005/06.

A third of trusts were found to have improved performance in this area.

Care Services Minister Phil Hope said: "We are developing a new strategy for mental health services for all age groups.

"This will herald a dynamic new approach to mental health for everyone.

"In the meantime we are already improving access to psychological therapies with funding rising to £178 million a year."<<

Note standard sound-bite from Government :mad:.




I think it is not only in mental illness that the elderly are discriminated against. It should be remembered that when they were young they paid their NHS subscriptions, and at that time there was no thought of private health insurance. Younger people today who have reasonable incomes are able to take out private insurance.(Too much, I fear is on attempting to make themselves beautiful and stay young looikng.) However there are many on low income of all ages who cannot afford private insurance, and even though they have trained for work they are unable to find a job. Some undertake voluntary work, and some are too disabled to do so. Does the Government then cover them for NHS insurance . They are likely to be the most vulnerable groups in society alongside the elderly. Added to this there are many who have qualified at University and come out thousands of pounds in debt. How do they access Health Service? There are too few dentists, and many children and the elderly require dental treatment. Without it their general health will suffer through their inability to eat a reeasonable diet. Thus the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer.
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Well-known member
Founding Member
Jan 7, 2008
it's not just the elderly who were bought up on a cradle to grave welfare state, a lot of schitsos who's illness began young were expecting the same

to now have words like scrounger and malingere used against people who years ago wouldn't have those words applied to them and whats worse the benefit people believe that political culture