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Mental health service discrimination against older people

  • David Anderson (a1), Peter Connelly (a2), Richard Meier (a3) and Cherie McCracken (a4)
Abstract
Aims and method

To provide a picture of availability and equality of access to mental health services for older people prior to the Equality Act. In 2010, a questionnaire was sent to health commissioners in England, Scotland and Wales under a Freedom of Information request.

Results

Overall, 132 (76%) replied. Of 11 services, 7 were either unavailable or did not provide equality of access to older people in more than a third of commissioning areas. When provided by specialist older people's mental health, services were more often considered to ensure equality.

Clinical implications

Increasing need resulting from an ageing population is unlikely to be met in the face of current inequality. Inequality on the basis of age is the result of government policy and not the existence of specialist services for older people. Single age-inclusive services may create indirect age discrimination. Availability alone is insufficient to demonstrate equality of access. Monitoring the effects of legislation must take this into account.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
David Anderson (david.anderson@merseycare.nhs.uk)
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

The survey was conducted by the Policy Unit of the Royal College of Psychiatrists on behalf of the Faculty of the Psychiatry of Old Age, Royal College of Psychiatrists. All authors were involved with developing the questionnaire and preparation of the paper. D.A. and P.C. were elected members serving on the Executive Committee of the Faculty at the time the study was conducted. R.M. was Policy Analyst with the Royal College of Psychiatrists at the time of the study.

Footnotes
References
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Mental health service discrimination against older people

  • David Anderson (a1), Peter Connelly (a2), Richard Meier (a3) and Cherie McCracken (a4)
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