Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Over 65s 'shut out of NHS services'

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

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.

The report - Equality in Later Life - noted that mental health problems among older people will become more of an NHS burden in the future.
Is it possible that 'The Healthcare Commission' is one of those rare things, a 'watchdog' that actually barks?

Source: The Metro.


Darwen Reporter said...

Sounds about right for the NHS! They tend to ignore those who can't stand up for themselves.

subrosa said...

Worrying as I'm not too far off 65 myself. Fortunately I have a doctor who knows I take responsibility for my own health but it's taken years for that to happen.

If I lost my faculties even slightly I know I could be open to this type of abuse.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they bark but they have no teeth. A typical Nu Labour body there to inspect and say all is well. In a fit of rage to distance themselves from their paymasters they are now just now raising concerns that have existed for over 65's for 10 years.

Record investment in the NHS, and record waste.

The NHS has missed the boat, had years of massive investment and squandered it all on consultants and managers rather than getting the basics right.