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NHS failing the elderly

27th March 2006

Old people are being failed by the NHS, despite the fact that they use health services across England the most, a new study claims.

A joint report by the Healthcare Commission, the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection states that elderly people are often ignored when public services are organised and have little input in planning and development.

Some services have improved since the ten-year National Service Framework for Older People plan was published in March 2001, but all of the ten communities across England who featured in the report had failed to reach government targets.

The planning of public transport and the low priority give to podiatry and foot care services were areas of particular concern, as a lack of adequate provision resulted in older people "losing mobility" and becoming "socially isolated".

Anna Walker, the Healthcare Commission's chief executive, said: "The challenge now is to provide much better care for older people closer to home. Health and social care organisations and local authorities need to work better together on behalf of older people."

It is thought that the elderly occupy around two thirds of hospital beds in the UK.