80 per cent of doctors condemn elderly care

Healthcare for elderly people is currently unacceptable, according to a BMA survey of UK doctors.

Nine out of 10 doctors believe not enough money is being spent on care of the elderly in the NHS and 80 per cent of doctors believe healthcare services for older people is not good enough.

From 500 responses, including 263 GPs, nearly two thirds (62.1 per cent) felt that not enough was being done to tackle dementia.

The biggest area of concern was the lack of services available in the community, with only one in ten (8.1 per cent) feeling that physical exercise and activities to maintain mental agility in care homes were adequate.

There was also concern among 60 per cent of doctors that there was not adequate continuity of care.

Dr Helena McKeown, a GP in Wilshire and chairwoman of the BMA’s community care committee, said cutbacks meant elderly people were facing distress and a lack of dignity.

‘It’s disgraceful that care services are so chronically under-funded. We no longer have an attached social worker, a community physiotherapist or a dedicated community psychiatric nurse. It’s very difficult to give our patients the sort of joined-up care they need.

‘It’s incredibly frustrating for everyone involved – all we want to do is help our patients and we can’t.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the BMA would be lobbying the government to ‘ensure carers and older people get the healthcare they deserve.’

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

BMA website

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