In October 2013, the conservative government introduced age discrimination laws to prevent age discrimination within the health sector. However, the Royal College of Surgeons has recently warned that elderly patients are unfortunately being denied life-saving operations due to their age.
According to reports, most people over the age of 75-years-old are not offered breast cancer or routine operations, including knee operations of gall bladder removal. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently commented on the problem, stating the discrimination is both “unacceptable and illegal”.
It also appears that the level of healthcare provided maybe a postcode lottery, as a pensioner is more likely to be offered an operation based on their location.
Professor Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, has stated: “There are large discrepancies – really huge. It is impossible to prove the reasons behind all the variation, but we have our suspicions and I worry about discrimination. It is really worrying when you look at something like colorectal cancer and there is a six fold difference between different parts of the country after the age of 65 – when we know surgery is the best for of treatment”.
Health officials are now aiming to tackle the variations in pensioner care, ensuring that the NHS adhere to legal health practices.