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NHS must provide better care for old people

The NHS has been called on to increase the level of preventative care given to old people as the average UK population life span continues to increase.

The NHS has been called on to increase the level of preventative care given to old people as the average UK population life span continues to increase.

There are more centenarians than ever before, according to UK charity, Age Concern, and people aged over 65 are the fastest growing age group. A new package of measures has been introduced to help improve the health of people in this age group.

Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, said that we should celebrate the fact that we are living longer but warned that there is much to be done to ensure a high standard of health is maintained until the end of life. He said that improving services for old people should be priority for the NHS.

"Much has already been done, but I want today's announcement to be the first step on the next stage of our journey towards better, more personalised care," said Johnson. "I want to ensure, where possible, those extra years are quality years where people have and are aware of basic entitlements to help them lead healthy, independent lives."

The new measures being introduced aim to halt the onset of chronic conditions that can lead to old people requiring extensive medical care, placing added strain on the already struggling NHS. Some of the measures include telecare designed to help people manage their illnesses at home and continued efforts to lower screening test waiting times.

Age Concern claims that many older people are severely affected by illnesses and diseases, reducing their quality of life and says the steps should be taken to improve the health and wellbeing of an aged population.

"We strongly welcome the intention to focus on preventative health," said Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern. "Shifting the focus to prevent health problems rather than just responding to crises makes good sense for everyone."

21st May 2008

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