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21 May 2024

An Older People’s Commissioner in Action

An older people’s commissioner speaks for those in later life and brings them tangible benefits. In Northern Ireland, Older People’s Commissioner Eddie Lynch recently secured a landmark legal win for older people.

The Commissioner took the case of 75-year-old quadriplegic man, who lives with multiple sclerosis and other complex healthcare needs, to the High Court. Under the Continuing Healthcare Policy, the man had been self-funding his healthcare in a care home; in Northern Ireland, under the Continuing Healthcare Policy, older people with assets worth more than £23,250 must pay for their social care. Those with fewer assets instead receive treatment in hospital, free of charge.

Considering the case, a judge ruled that the man was unfairly refused free hospital treatment, and called on the Northern Ireland Department of Health to adopt a revised policy that determines whether care should be provided in a hospital or care home based on need, not money.

We’re calling for:

Following examples set by Northern Ireland and Wales, for the UK Government to create a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing for England and Scotland. The Commissioner would hold the UK and Scottish governments to account, and provide a voice for older people.

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