COPDNew official statistics are published today to broaden insight into the health and care of people aged 65 or over in England.

According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) included in today’s report, Focus on the Health and Care of Older People, June 2014, show that, in England people aged 65 or over account for one in six of the population (17% in 2012) but one in two hospital bed days (54%). People aged 85 or over account for one in 44 of the population (2% in 2012) and one in six hospital bed days (18%).

Over the last 20 years, the total number of bed days has decreased in every age group apart from those aged 85 or over, where the number has increased by a tenth. Over the last 20 years the total number of day cases has increased for all age groups. The biggest rise was for those aged 85 or over, where there has been a ten fold increase. Also over seven in ten people aged 65 or over are obese or overweight (this is a similar proportion to those aged 45 or over).

Other key findings are:

  • Eight in ten people aged 85 or over (77%) accessed at least one of inpatient, outpatient, or A&E services in 2012-13, and this was almost seven in ten (65%) for those aged 65 or over. Four in ten people under 65 years (41%) used at least one of inpatient, outpatient, or A&E services.
  • One in five people aged 85 or over (20%) used all three of A&E, inpatient and outpatient services in 2012-13, for those aged 65 or over this was one in eight (12%) and for those under 65 years this was one in 24 people (4%).
  • Two in three admissions to hospital for people aged 85 or over (65%) were through emergency channels but for those under 65 years this was one in three (32%).
  • About 600 million (60%) of the one billion drug items dispensed in the community in 2013 were for people aged 65 or over. 
Today’s report aims to provide a wider picture of older people’s health and lifestyle and pulls together data on hospital activity, mental health, social care, prescribing, NHS workforce, census data and life expectancy. The new report also explores use of health and social care services among older people and gives insight into the impact an ageing population has on these services and how this compares to previous generations.

HSCIC Lead Clinician Martin Severs said: “Today’s report gives fresh insight, with original analysis, into the typical profile of an older person in England today. By looking at change over time our report provides a broad understanding of an ageing population and the implications this group may have for health and care services. As a geriatrician for almost 30 years I have seen huge changes in the health and care of older people and health and care activity for this group. We hope that a better understanding of the ageing population could help shape a better future for this group.”