Age Concern’s Primary Concerns report slams primary care services

Age Concern says that older people are being denied free dental and chiropody care and face difficulties in seeing their GP.

The charity’s Primary Concerns survey of 1,100 older people found half were not registered with an NHS dentist, while one in five struggled to get appointments with their GP or practice nurse.

Budget slashing

Age Concern director general Gordon Lishman criticised the government for “slashing budgets” to save money in the NHS.

Many people were forced to pay for private foot care or miss out due to a lack of NHS chiropodists.  This was a “huge concern” because one in three older people cannot cut their own toenails, the charity said.

The charity claimed the study highlighted a failure to carry out a government pledge made a decade ago to ensure everyone would have easy access to an NHS dentist within two years.

Health care

Lishman added: “Health care should be free at the point of use. It is unacceptable that older people’s health needs aren’t properly prioritised within the NHS, despite the fact that they are the biggest adult service users.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said it was investing an additional £250m for 152 new GP-led health centres, which can be used by any member of the public, and building 100 new GP practices “in the areas that need them most”.

The spokesperson added that the new health centres would greatly increase access to primary care services as they will complement existing GP surgeries and be open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

Primary Concern’s report

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External information

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