NHS GPS are basing decisions on whether or not to refer their patients to specialists based on their age, sex and wealth.
This is one of the points made in a recent study published in the British Medical Journal.
After looking at the records of 130,000 patients, the scientists found that there could be a substantial difference in the likelihood of referral between older and younger patients.
Women were seen to be even less likely to be sent to see a specialist doctor, with females suffering from hip pain ten per cent less likely to be sent on.
Those from a poorer background saw their chances fall even further.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, told the BBC: "A doctor's decision to refer patients must be based solely on the patient's clinical need, not their age.
"Age discrimination in health provision will be unlawful from 2012 and it can't come a moment too soon for older people in need of medical care."
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