Call To Expose Age Discrimination In Health Sector

National elderly-support group Age Action tonight called on workers in the medical services to expose ageist practices within the sector.

The organisation also urged older people who may have experienced age discrimination in the health care system to reveal their stories.

They will form part of a study carried out by the group, commissioned by the Equality Authority, probing whether a person’s age is a factor in getting treatment.

Eamon Timmins, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “Age is used as a mechanism by which to deny older people access to life-saving services.

“The fact that the BreastCheck breast screening programme is confined to women aged between 50 and 64 is a good example.

“The age limit is used to limit screening services despite the fact that 37% of breast cancer cases diagnosed in 2005 were in women aged over 65,” he said.

The research is being undertaken as part of European Year of Equality to establish how extensively patients are discriminated against based on their age.

“The national advocacy group is seeking older people who have been discriminated against to come forward, as well as whistleblowers working within the medical sector who are aware of ageist practices,” Mr Timmins added.

All information will be treated in confidence.

Age Action Ireland is the national network on ageing and older people.

Its aim is to improve the quality of life of all older people, especially those who are most disadvantaged and vulnerable.