Commenting on research which indicates NHS hospital waiting times are getting longer, Dr Ros Altmann, Director-General of over-50s organisation Saga said:
“If there was more provision for caring for people at home, or more funding for care homes, then a significant number of hospital beds would be freed up – saving money, cutting waiting lists, and, crucially, providing older people with a significant improvement of quality of life in later years.
“Something like 70% of emergency hospital admissions – many of which result in a bed being occupied – are due to over 65s having falls, the sort of incident that could be avoided to a great extent if they were living in appropriate accommodation with appropriate levels of care.
“Older people dread going to hospital, and they believe the NHS is getting worse – which surely has an impact upon their wellbeing. Saga has conducted independent research which shows that 39% of over-50s questioned in a poll of 11,279 over 50s** believe that the NHS is likely to be worse or much worse within five years, despite the government’s proposed radical reforms of the NHS.
"The over-50s are heavy users of NHS services so their experience counts - and their judgement is that not only has the NHS got worse over the past year, they expect the NHS to deteriorate further within five years."
The survey for Saga Private Medical Insurance also revealed that 28% of over-50s polled believed that the NHS had got worse or much worse within the past year. Those living in Wales were the most likely to give this damning verdict, with 40% citing deterioration in the last year, followed by 30% in both the West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber.
**Saga Populus poll interviewed 11,279 Saga customers, all aged 50+ online between 17th and 23rd June 2011.
For further information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.