Age Concern’s campaign to protect the pensions
and benefits of older people in hospital has received the backing
of major health organisations.
The charity is calling on the government to
review urgently the rules under which the state pension for a
single person is cut by £28.30 for a hospital stay of six
weeks or more.
The Royal College of Nursing, the College of
Occupational Therapists and the British Medical Association are
among the organisations that have pledged their support.
Andrew Dearden, chairperson of the BMA’s
community care committee, said that the reduction of older people’s
benefits when they are in an NHS bed is tantamount to charging them
for its use.
“The suggestion that they need less money as
the NHS is providing food and lodgings is nonsense and ignores the
fact that many are still paying bills for their own homes,” he
Jan Dewing, senior fellow at the RCN
Gerontological Nursing Programme, said that it was grossly unfair
that older people should be penalised for being ill. “The current
system causes worry and hardship at a time when older people should
be concentrating on recovery,” she said.