A new report has revealed that older people are less likely to recieve referals from thier GP than younger people with similar symptoms.
In a study contucted by a team from the King's Fund and University College London, which compared referal for three common symptoms in patients of different ages, sex and wealth, people aged over 85 were found to be 61% less likely to be refered for postmenopausal bleeding and 32% less likely to be refered for hip pain. The team analysed data for 130,000 patients from 326 practices throughout the UK over a 6 year period.
The report published yesterday in the British Medical Journal did not examin the reasoning behind GPs decision, however Michelle Mitchell of Age UK stressed that "A doctor's decision to refer patients must be based solely on the patient's clinical need, not their age. Age discrimination in health provision will be unlawful from 2012 and it can't come a moment too soon for older people in need of medical care."