Older people are not a burden, says WHO

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 02 October 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h5272
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

Older people should not be looked on as a costly burden on health systems, the World Health Organization has urged.

In its first global report on ageing and health WHO said that it was often wrongly assumed that the growing numbers of older people will put an intolerable burden on healthcare.1 “In reality, the picture is far less clear,” said WHO.

The report said that in some high income countries healthcare expenditure per person actually fell after the age of around 75, while expenditure on long term care (which includes both health and social care) increased. The report quoted an analysis of expenditure by Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust which found that expenditure increased across all services as age increased, …

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