Commenting on today’s speech by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on health reform, Morgan Vine, Head of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“As outlined by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care today, further action to ensure everyone receives the healthcare they need to live their lives with dignity is desperately needed. This means doing much more than just putting them on a surgery conveyor belt. As it stands with 6 million people waiting for treatment, many older people stuck in this group feel like they have been abandoned as they wait in pain, facing physical and mental deterioration that can make treatment harder. Our own research revealed that over half (52%) of over 50s on surgical waiting lists are in daily pain. This is unacceptable.
“At Independent Age, we want everyone to have a choice about how they manage their own health, so we welcome the expansion of personalised care. However, the government must ensure that today’s promise is extended to all older people on a waiting list, especially those who have waited for six months or more, so they can manage their pain.
“None of today’s good ideas can be delivered without a workforce plan, so it was reassuring to see the government acknowledge the need for one. We look forward to hearing more detail on this to ensure we have a workforce that’s fit for our ageing society.
“Despite today’s step in the right direction, there needs to be a radical rethink in the way we support those in later life living with poor health. Last year’s announcement to tackle the surgery backlog was a good first step, but healthcare isn’t just about hospitals, there needs to be investment in community services such as physiotherapy and group exercise classes. If the Secretary of State wants to deliver on his vision for healthcare, he needs to put his money where his mouth is.”