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Ageing Britain is a health worry for many

22nd September 2006

The current healthcare system is not prepared for the UK's ageing population, according to Brits.

Nearly nine out of ten of the people surveyed for BUPA's Health Debate survey have said that they think healthcare in the UK will need to change in order to meet the changing demands being caused by the boom in old age.

More than half of those said that a high priority should be placed on treating the elderly through the NHS, even when the resources could otherwise be spent on treating the young.

Britain's increasing number of older people is a concern for many of the poll's respondents; 36 per cent of whom said that they believe society will struggle to support so many pensioners.

"Britain is facing an ageing time bomb with major challenges presented by retirement, the desire to live longer and the increasing burden of caring for older people," said Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, medical director at BUPA.

"However, the question has to be asked can society cope, with only one in three (32 per cent) believing that an ageing population brings more benefits than problems. It would appear Britain wants to have its cake with 100 candles and eat it!"

There are also lessons to be learned about older workers from the survey, which found that three-quarters of respondents believe that no-one should be prevented from working, regardless of their age.