Researchers from the University of East Anglia found that the recommended care for patients over 50 is received just 65 per cent of the time.
For conditions covered by the quality framework, this figure rose to 75 per cent, but fell to just 58 per cent in conditions not included.
Treating geriatric conditions like osteoarthritis (OA) and incontinence should be incentivised to ensure older patients received the right treatment, researchers concluded.
The study involved 8,688 people aged 50 and over and looked at 13 different conditions including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, vision loss, hearing problems, incontinence and osteoarthritis.
Results showed huge variations in whether or not particular health conditions received the appropriate intervention or care, said the researchers.
BMJ 2008; 337: a957
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