A new survey from Nuffield Health has revealed that four in 10 over 60 year-olds in the North East of England say their mental health had suffered as a result of cancelled or delayed diagnostic tests or operations, with a fifth (22%) worried their physical health would also deteriorate.
With today’s generation of older people having ambitious plans for their retirement, almost a quarter fear their health will stand in the way. Having sought help, one in 10 (7%) in Newcastle aged over 60 then had their appointment postponed two or more times. Of those who had their appointment, test or operation cancelled, a fifth (22%) were given less than 24 hours’ notice, with 12% cancelled on the day. With 73% having mentally prepared, they then had to wait an average of eight weeks for it to be rescheduled.
The survey, commissioned by the UK’s leading healthcare charity Nuffield Health, revealed the delays and cancellations caused three in 10 over 60 year-olds to feel ‘stressed’ and ‘anxious’. This comes at a time in life when anxiety levels are usually at their lowest.
While over half (51%) of the over 60s in Newcastle accept that health conditions are part of later life, many have ambitions for retirement they don’t want their health to hamper, including renovating the house (25%), volunteering for charity (16%) or travelling through Europe by train (14%). As a result of delays and cancellations to treatment, one in 10 (12%) felt unable to commit to any plans.
Jonathan Davies, OBE, former Wales rugby international had a hip operation when he was 51. He says: “I’d had problems with my hip for a number of years, but was desperate to get my life back on track and didn’t want my health to stop me doing the things I love to do. It’s about choice, and I made mine. I booked in to have my hip operated on and nine months later I completed a cycling race I’d been wanting to do. Taking back control over your health is empowering and I’d urge everyone to explore the options available for treatment so you’re not hampered by health at a time in life when you should be making the most of it!”
There are alternatives to treatment available however, including private medical insurance and self-pay, allowing people to be proactive about their health to improve their quality of life.
Nuffield Health offers diagnostic tests and operations with no waiting lists in its award-winning hospitals; 94% of Nuffield Health hospitals are rated good or outstanding compared with an average of 70% for the independent healthcare sector.
Nuffield Health also offers private GP services, emotional wellbeing services, health assessments and Recovery Plus – a unique service which brings together a spectrum of healthcare services across Nuffield Health’s Hospitals and Fitness & Wellbeing Clubs.
Matt Lamb, Hospital Director of Nuffield Health Newcastle Hospital in Jesmond, said: “Retirement should be a time to look forward to, but many people in their 60s start suffering with health complaints that hold them back. For those that are looking for an alternative way to deal with their health problems, our hospitals have no waiting lists and we offer our patients a personalised recovery plan to help them get on with their lives, and retirement plans, as quickly as possible.”