NHS specialist referrals 'biased'

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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NHS specialist referrals 'biased'
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