Helen Salisbury: Older lives are not worth lessBMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3915 (Published 13 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3915
- Helen Salisbury, GP
Follow Helen on Twitter: @HelenRSalisbury
If you’re lucky, age brings wisdom and leisure, but for many it means illness, frustration, and failing bodies. “I’m sorry to be such a nuisance, doctor,” older patients often tell me. I reassure them that they’re not a nuisance and that, if they didn’t trouble me with their ailments, I’d be out of a job.
While a few patients stockpile medication, others worry about “bankrupting the NHS” and try to avoid any treatment that’s not strictly necessary. I try to explain that they’ve already paid for the care and medicines they now need, through a lifetime of taxes.
In this pandemic, I’ve been reminded again of the risk of ageism in healthcare. …