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Health and Social Services: Discrimination

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 4 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many complaints of age discrimination in healthcare were received by his Department in each of the last 12 months; (187679)

(2) how many complaints of age discrimination in social care were received by his Department in each of the last 12 months;

(3) what assessment he has made of progress towards the elimination of age discrimination in mental health services;

(4) what assessment he has made of progress towards the elimination of age discrimination in social care services;

(5) what assessment he has made of progress towards the elimination of age discrimination in health services;

(6) what steps his Department has taken in the last 12 months to prevent age discrimination in the provision of healthcare.

Action to address age discrimination in the provisions of health services and social care was a central aspect of the ‘National Service Framework (NSF) for Older People’, published in 2001. Since then there has been steady progress in eliminating age discrimination including an increase in the proportion of older people receiving intensive help to maintain a high quality of life independently at home rather than in residential care. In addition, specialist services for age related needs such as stroke and falls continue to improve and increasing numbers of older people are taking advantage of health promotion opportunities, for example stopping smoking.

Local national health service organisations and social services departments are responsible for the management and investigation of complaints, including those of age discrimination; as such, this information is not collected centrally by the Department.

We are committed to the principle of mental health services that meet people’s needs regardless of their age. As new policy is developed it is assessed for its potential impact of different age groups, and existing policy and practice is kept under review.