Age should not affect surgery

It says some older patients miss out on vital treatment because of their age. Age discrimination in the NHS has been made illegal but the report says it may still happen when budgets are tight.
Doctors should look at the overall health of a patient instead of using cut-off ages for procedures, it said. The report, Access All Ages, points out that there are valid reasons why an older patient might not be considered for surgery – because they have other health problems that increase the risk of operations, or that they themselves prefer not to go under the knife.
However, the report said: "While there may be legitimate clinical reasons why an older person may not benefit from surgery, it remains the case that some patients may be missing out. "Decisions may not always be made on the basis of a comprehensive and objective assessment, but on a series of assumptions about fitness in older age."
It said some doctors may have "outdated perceptions" and a "lack of awareness" about older patients and their ability to cope with surgery. It highlighted rates of breast cancer, which are at their highest in women above the age of 85. However, the highest surgery rate was in women two decades younger. Michelle Mitchell, from Age UK, said: "When it comes to people’s health, their date of birth actually tells you very little.
"A healthy living 80-year-old could literally run rings round someone many years younger who does not share the same good health."