Reacting to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's speech on public health screening delivered today, Paul Cann, director of policy & external relations at Help the Aged comments:

'The Prime Minister's emphasis on prevention through measures such as screening for conditions like stroke or heart disease during mid-life is welcome. However, Help the Aged believes that far more should be done for the current older age group. Screening is a key tool of public health and prevention and should not be limited by age unless it is proven from clinical research that this is justified.

'In addition, given the demographic make-up of the country, Help the Aged wants to see greater focus on certain conditions which devastate the lives of older people but which can be prevented. Falls are a prime example - over half of hospital admissions for accidental injury result from a fall and half of those who suffer a hip fracture never regain their former level of function*.

'Incontinence is a further example of where greater work and provision is urgently needed. Around one in ten of the population will suffer from continence issues at some point in our lives, with risk increasing as we get older. While this debilitating condition can be treated, many cases go undiagnosed and can cause real misery for many people.

'With issues such as these at front of mind, what is needed from the Prime Minister therefore is enhanced commitment to tackling a range of public health issues. Doing so will result in a more rounded and effective public health drive which benefits the whole population.'


* 'Don't mention the F-word! Preventing falls: advice to practitioners on communicating falls prevention messages to older people', Help the Aged

Help the Aged has a number of exercise resources available to older people concerned about their risk of falling including a free advice leaflet called Staying Steady. For a free copy please call 020 7239 1845. Advice leaflets can also be picked up from local Help the Aged shops or downloaded from the Help the Aged website: www.helptheaged. Help the Aged also produces an exercise DVD/video called Step to the Future. Copies can be purchased through Help the Aged Home Shopping by phone, 0844 557 5336, or online helptheaged/homeshopping.

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation and neglect. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The charity delivers a range of services including information and advice, home support and help in difficult times that are supported by its fundraising activities and paid for services. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.


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