There is no doubt that the UK has a greater percentage of elderly people today than arguably anytime in its past history. This generation is generally referred to as the Baby Boomers, the children of those families that were created at the end of World War II and who entered into adulthood during the turbulent 60s. They were there when man first landed on the moon and were amongst the first to discover that new-fangled thing called the Internet. Now, they are entering their sunset years and as most people of this age across the world, they are beginning to suffer from a wide variety of maladies, which is the curse of old age. However, fortunately, we have the National Health Service to look after their every need. Or do we?
Struggling with a Savings Target
It’s not that the NHS is evil. It’s just that they have been given a £20 billion savings goal, which means that they cannot spend on many different types of surgeries as freely as they would have in the past, even if they were so inclined. Perhaps this massive savings goal is one more victim of the recession that has swept across the UK over the last few years, leaving a lot of pain and misery in its wake. But in this particular case, pain, real physical pain, is really the issue. Because the NHS is refusing to cover many necessary but expensive operations, they are leaving their patients in a tremendous amount of pain. As the elderly find their bodies failing them, they often need surgery to correct what ails them. In this particular case, the most common treatments which are being limited by the savings targets are knee and hip replacements, as well as cataract surgery.
Is a Form of Discrimination Involved?
There is a company, known simply as Dr. Foster’s, which produces an annual report on the healthcare industry in the UK, referred to as the Hospital Guide. It was released just a few weeks ago and it shows beyond a doubt that while the elderly population is growing, the number of these necessary procedures being performed is dropping, at least as compared to a decade ago. Nationwide, hip placements have increased only slightly, and only by a third when compared to the numbers compiled less than a decade ago. The charity organisation known as Age UK thinks that the NHS is involved in ageism, simply defined as discriminating against the elderly. Mind you, this is prohibited by legislation. And yet, the statistics speak for themselves. There are more elderly in the land, and yet fewer necessary surgical procedures are being performed.
Obviously this is a tragic state of affairs which has no easy solution in sight. Perhaps, rather than always relying on the government to take care of us in one form or another, we need to start thinking about taking care of ourselves. One of the easiest and simplest ways to do so is to maintain a certain degree of financial independence by opening savings accounts, where our money can earn interest and where we can slowly but surely build up a nice nest egg which will protect us in the event that any type of emergency, medical or otherwise, should arise.