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Press release on the WMA website
A call to the medical profession and governments around the world to eliminate all forms of healthcare discrimination against the elderly has come from the World Medical Association.
In a new policy document, the WMA says that elderly individuals experience all kinds of discrimination in health care. It says the elderly may be perceived as a burden on healthcare systems. As a result, rationing of certain costly and time-consuming diagnostic or therapeutic procedures takes place and clinical trials often exclude patients of a certain age.
WMA President Dr. Osahon Enabulele said ‘The ageing of the population due to increased life expectancy is one of the main challenges of many health systems, putting a strain on these systems. Older people are often seen as recipients of help, care and financial support. But this is inaccurate, because they make significant contributions to the well-being of their environment, which has a high social value.
‘So our new policy underlines what we promise in the Physicians Pledge: “I will not permit considerations of age…to intervene between my duty and my patient”. Biological age should never be used as a basis for discrimination. We want to see governments working to eradicate discrimination against elderly individuals in healthcare and we are calling on the medical profession to eliminate all forms of discrimination due to health and age.’