Elderly face NHS discrimination under new UN death targets
Elderly people will be treated like second-class citizens and denied medical care under new targets which give priority to saving the lives of young people
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor
29 May 2015
The NHS could be led to discriminate against the over 70s to meet ‘highly unethical’ UN health targets which seek to reduce premature deaths in younger people, senior medics have warned.
Under the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, UN member states will be given targets to cut the number of deaths from diseases like cancer, stroke, diabetes and dementia by one third by 2030.
However, because many are age-related illnesses people who succumb to those diseases from the age of 70 are not deemed to have died prematurely and so are not included in the target.
In an open letter published in The Lancet, an international group of ageing specialists say the new guidelines send out the message that health provision for younger groups must be prioritised at the expense of older people.
Prof Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, professor of social policy and international development at the University of East Anglia, and lead author of the letter, said: “This premature mortality target is highly unethical, since it unjustifiably discriminates against older people.
“We already know that there is age discrimination in cancer care and surgery and these targets give that the stamp of approval.
“The targets are not quite set in stone yet, so we have a final opportunity to impress upon the UN the need to alter this explicitly ageist health target.
“If this doesn’t happen, people aged 70 and over will become second-class citizens as far as health policy is concerned.”
The letter warns that the UN target: “has the potential to undermine cherished, fundamental principles of universality and health as a right for all.”
“Put simply, it tells policy makers, particularly in poorer countries that older people do not matter,” the signatories warn.
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Others who have signed include ageing experts from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University as well as representatives of The Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK, and HelpAge International.
Baroness Sally Greengross, former director of Age Concern England, who also signed the letter said: “If adopted, this UN target could lead to institutionalised discrimination against older people in health care, both here in the UK and globally.
“This target will inevitably reinforce the ageist bias that pervades many aspects of health care decision-making.”
The Sustainable Development Goals which are due to come into effect later this year, replace the Millenium Development Goals which ran up to 2015 and include ambitions for climate change, health care, development and policy.
If the target was met, around 42,000 lives would be saved each year for the under 70s. However if older people were included in the target an extra 130,000 lives would be saved.
Although the guidelines are not binding, health experts warn that the UN is likely to take a dim view of countries who fail to comply.
Last year the Royal College of Surgeons warned that elderly people are being denied life-saving operations because of age discrimination within the NHS.
Data released for the first time showed that across large areas of the country, almost no patients above the age of 75 are receiving surgery for breast cancer or routine operations such as gall bladder removal and knee replacements.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), was also criticised for attempting to change its funding criteria to take into account “wider societal benefits” when deciding on whether to fund drugs.
Health experts branded the move ‘deeply suspect’ and said the elderly may lose out because they do not contribute as much to society as younger people [Who says they don’t?].
Tom Gentry, policy advisor at AgeUK said that people were living far longer than in the past, with even the average 70-year-old expected to live for at least another decade.
“We know that access to surgery is getting worse for older people, and yet we are talking about people who still have years left to live,” he said.
“We need to improve. We are fighting entrenched cultural attitudes about the value of older people and this target will not help that.”
In 2013, the Government introduced age discrimination laws which mean patients should not be denied procedures on grounds of age. Doctors are supposed to assess patients based on their fitness for an operation, and likely benefit from it.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “It is wrong to deny people treatment just because of their age, which is why we made it illegal [That was pointless unless NHS clinicians, far too many of whom are immigrants of alien nationality, actually comply with the law, which many do not].
“Decisions on care should only ever be based on clinical need.”[We want action, not ‘warm words’!]
It is an outrage that elderly Britons are denied life-saving operations on the NHS, into which they have paid their entire life, while more than £2 billion is spent every year on treating HIV patients – many of whom are not even British citizens but ‘health migrants’ from Africa who enter our country with the disease.
The number of people being treated for HIV in Britain has more than trebled over the past decade and about 100,000 people are now believed to suffer from the disease. Only one in three people with HIV was born in the UK.
Furthermore, the infection rate in this country has more than doubled over the last decade. And the number of infections acquired within the UK exceeded those contracted abroad for the first time in 2010. Even some healthcare staff in the NHS have the disease.
Why do women have a ‘statutory right’ to IVF treatment on the NHS, when so many of our elderly folk are unlawfully denied life-saving surgery – ostensibly on cost grounds?
The money can be found for sex change operations on transexuals on the NHS and for cosmetic surgery, but not to save the lives of elderly people with cancer or heart trouble.
Is this ‘ageist’ policy being pushed by the corrupt United Nations because elderly folk are disproportionately English compared to younger age groups within the UK population?
Certainly, Britain is one of the few countries in the world whose government is likely to pay much attention to the flatulent edicts of the impecunious UN. Except, that is, when it suits the interests of its prime minister to flout them, as happened in 2003 over Iraq.
Why should foreigners from around the world be invited to come to Britain for treatment of HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis A, B and C, etc, all at public expense for the rest of their life, while our own elderly folk are refused life-saving treatment from an NHS for which they paid throughout their working life?
Is this yet another form of institutional discrimination against our people?
Is this yet another way of accelerating our demise so that ethnic aliens can take over our country even more quickly?
Patria does not prey on our elderly folk. We are not legacy-hunting vultures.
Patria is the one and only party that speaks up for our people – of whatever age.
Our leaders don’t go around slashing children’s bicycle tyres and we don’t employ those who do. In fact we don’t employ anyone and I hope, as a matter of policy, we never shall – because employing staff tends to have a corrupting influence on any party.
Rather than paying wages to low-life ne’er-do-wells we use what money we have to fly the flag, getting our message of hope to our people by fighting elections. This is what our members rightly expect and it is the duty of every patriotic party.
Electioneering is vital – all the more so when the world and his uncle try to tell you it’s a waste of time. It’s not a waste of time. It shows our people that there are those of us who still have the will to fight back and it gives them hope for the future.
What is a waste of time is voting for phony, pro-immigration UKIP and its tycoon-backed multiracialist agenda for turning Britain into a Third World theme park.
What is a waste of time is holding pointless marches and demonstrations which demonstrate nothing but weakness.
What is a waste of time is running down the electioneering of patriots and advocating in its place a turning inward – the creation of a money-spinning cult of survivalists and home-schoolers.
Patria is the British nationalist party – for the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.
So come join Patria, the Home of Patriots and save the country for your grandchildren! It will be the best ten pounds you have ever spent.