Despite evidence that even older patients benefit from timely treatment for stroke and mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack), a researcher has warned in the latest issue of the BMJ that many doctors do not bother treating people over 80 in a timely manner. In other words, the researcher contends that ageism is rampant in health services.
Professor John Young says that in the case of the English health services, many decades of under funding the health services have seen to it that older patients do not get the quality of treatment reserved for the younger ones suffering strokes.
Similar scenarios prevail in cancer services, coronary care units, prevention of vascular disease, and in mental health services, he said. He suggested that in order to overcome these obvious shortcomings, specialist and primary care responses to the management of transient ischemic attacks must be integrated in a manner similar to what has happened with coronary heart diseases.
National Service Framework for Older People since 2001 has made a difference to care received by older people, he added. But unless drastic changes are implemented, it would seriously undermine the health service. ''Don't be surprised if older people lose trust in their health service and lobby for protection through anti-discrimination legislation. The result would indeed be a patient led health service.''