Intended for healthcare professionals


The implications of outlawing age discrimination

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 15 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1076

Resources are already inadequate to meet workload

  1. Roger A Fisken, consultant physician (
  1. Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, North Yorkshire DL6 1JG
  2. 13 Edgemont Street, Glasgow G41 3EH
  3. School of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds LS17 8SJ

    EDITOR—All over the country health services are groaning under the weight of increasing workloads, pushed upwards in many instances by skyrocketing public expectations fuelled by the utterances of self seeking politicians. Levels of stress among health professionals are ratcheted up even further by demands for more accountability, publication of audit data, clinical governance, the ever expanding “blame culture,” and so on, all in an environment where resources are nowhere near adequate to deal with the workload that we already bear. Now we are being told by Rivlin that it would be a great idea to make age discrimination in health care illegal.1 I am sure none of us would disagree with the principle behind his argument, but does he have any idea what a can of worms he is opening? The problems which he dismisses so breezily as “grey areas” could, in fact, result in a large number of legal actions against doctors who are simply trying to …

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