‘Super-diversity’ must be recognised by policymakers Experts at the University of Birmingham call for post of commissioner for older people in England By Lisa Berry CULTURAL SENSITIVITY should be a vital component of all future services for older people, according to a group of experts. The University of Birmingham policy commission found that some communities and faith groups relied on the huge contribution older people make to society, and that ‘sharing this good practice presents a real opportunity for communities of all kinds’. Its report, launched in the House of Commons last month, urges policymakers to ‘recognise and accommodate super-diversity’ when planning services for an ageing population. And it calls for the establishment

Working group’s plan for more effective community services RADICAL CHANGES to community services are needed if more care is to be moved out of hospitals and closer to people’s homes, according to the King’s Fund. The report, which is based on the findings of a working group of community trusts convened by the think tank, argues that previous policy has failed to achieve this long-standing ambition. To address this, it sets out a seven-step plan for change, based on community services working much more closely with groups of general practices. This would reduce hospital admission rates, releasing resources for patients to be cared for at home and stemming growing demand for hospital beds. King’s Fund senior fellow Nigel Edwards said: ‘With the health system under increasing pressure, especially the hospital sector, improving the effectiveness of community services is essential.’ NURSING OLDER PEOPLE

of a commissioner for older people in England, drawing on the experience of those in Wales and Northern Ireland. Chief inspector of general practice for the Care Quality Commission Steve Field linked with the university team to chair the policy commission. He said: ‘This is the first time we have looked at ageing in a “super-diverse” society. ‘Birmingham is a multicultural city. Its super-diverse population provided an ideal opportunity to explore the implications of ageing for ethnically diverse people from across the world.’ The report also noted that the Equalities Act 2010 could prove more influential in

safeguarding the rights of older people than the Human Rights Act 1998. Among its recommendations, the report calls for: ■ A new statutory post of commissioner for older people in England. ■ The human rights of older people to be at the heart of health and social care policy. ■ Research councils to gain a better understanding of ageing in a super-diverse society. ■ More effort to give older people a louder voice when planning any type of service for an ageing population, not just those related to health and social care. The report also found that health inequalities in younger life must be evened out if poorer people are to age as well as those who are better off. Find out more Healthy Ageing in the 21st Century: The Best is Yet to Come can be downloaded at

Actors support breast cancer awareness campaign ONE IN three women diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year is aged over 70, Public Health England (PHE) says. The organisation has launched a national campaign to encourage older women to visit their GP if they notice any changes in their breasts. Around 13,500 women aged 70 and over are diagnosed with breast cancer in England each year and disease risk increases with age. However, survival rates are lower in this age group compared with younger women, figures show. Lack of awareness of symptoms other than a lump, such as changes in breast shape or size, is believed to be one of the reasons for poor survival, PHE says. Regional director at PHE Yvonne Doyle said: ‘Women

over 70 are more likely to delay presenting to their GP with breast cancer, which could ultimately affect their chance of survival. Don’t assume you’re past it or dismiss any symptoms as a sign of ageing.’ Actors Barbara Windsor and Miriam Margolyes (pictured) are supporting the television and press campaign.

March 2014 | Volume 26 | Number 2

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'Super-diversity' must be recognised by policymakers.

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