Bill Harvey: The Nation's saving grace
Author: Bill Harvey
We all know that the average age in the UK has risen over recent decades. But it might be a surprise to know that the UK actually has one of the younger populations in Europe. According to the Resolution Foundation in 2019, the UK’s average age has been rising steadily, from 36 in 1975 to 40 in 2019. Interestingly, there is a 25-year gap between the oldest and youngest local authorities; North Norfolk, where the average age is 54, and Oxford, where it is 29, reflecting its large student population. The highest average is in tiny Monaco, some 53.1 years, while in Germany it is 47.1 years.
I mention this because dealing with the elderly is part and parcel of eye care. Indeed, I love my old patients, many of whom confess to having caused much of their eye damage in the sixties, and regularly regale me with stories of Bohemia that would blanche many a
So, the UK cannot reasonably suggest that the high Covid-19 impact, particularly on those in care homes, can be excused by the demography, certainly when considering the German profile. The early decision to stop widespread testing must be looked into, and soon.
Last week, a group of charities told a parliamentary commission how a sizable number of elderly people still remain in a world with no online access, remain reliant on cash, and have no accessible family or friends. Sadly, there have been incidents of pensioners dying of malnutrition since the lockdown which has made us all much more reliant on modern media and money transfer. We should remember that neighbourhoods are not just geographical – our patient bases also represent a coherent network. All old people have, at some stage, needed eye care.
And finally, in keeping with the current trend for online pub quizzes, what is the likelihood of a toxic maculopathy appearing in the Oval Office? Answer next week.