Intended for healthcare professionals


Population ageing: the timebomb that isn’t?

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 12 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6598

Re: Population ageing: the timebomb that isn’t?

I have often argued against the use of the term “demographic time bomb” to describe the changing age structure of our population as an ageist and doom mongering approach to the future expansion of older section of the population.

It had always seemed to me to be the case that as we grew older we were also growing healthier and that the main health care costs associated with an ageing population are spent in the last few months or perhaps two years or so of life. All that a healthily ageing population was adding to this was to make that end of life expenditure occur at a later age in most individual lives.

I was intrigued and heartened to read the Analysis above and will add its details on the expansion of the “working age” population and contraction of the “elderly dependent” population to my range of arguments to counter the threat of the of the demographic time bomb ever actually exploding.

Competing interests: No competing interests

19 November 2013
John Boyce
Clinical Nurse Manager
NHS Lothian
Astley Ainslie Hospital, Edinburgh