Give older people priority says Saga
In response to proposed reforms to the NHS, Dr Ros Altmann, director general of Saga said:
“The NHS is of great importance to people over 50 and we are deeply concerned that a squeeze on health budget over the next three years and the management changes might adversely impact the quality of medical and domiciliary care for older people.
Change cannot be allowed to reduce the quality of care provided for elderly either in hospital or at home.
We asked over 14,000 over 50s about their experience of the NHS (August 2010) and a third said it had improved over the previous two years and 44 per cent said their experience had been “very good”. These advances in NHS provision cannot be lost.
Key concerns for the over 50s are: waiting times; ease of access; the return of the “post-code” lottery; and, care and support at home. Older people are heavy users of NHS services. Waiting times to have surgery for cataracts, hip or knee replacement, for example, cannot be allowed to lengthen, leaving people in incapacitated and in pain. We cannot return to waiting times of a year and more.
We applaud the move to more joined-up thinking between health and local authority provision for services in the home as we know that many older people want to stay in their own homes when they can no longer fully look after themselves. These services must not be cut.
Local decision making could well lead to unequal provision of services so that where you live dictates the level of provision available. This would be clearly unfair and unacceptable.
Finally, with a growing elderly population we must see more, better, flexible and imaginative services for those who need help at home, not less.
Saga will be monitoring NHS and local authority provision very carefully over the coming months. We, also, want to see an improved NHS, including more choice and private sector involvement when that puts the well-being of old people very high on the list of health priorities.”
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529