Inequitable access to services for older people

3Funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research as part of the Ageing Well Programme of research.

What are the aims of this project?

The project investigates the extent to which older people receive inequitable access to effective and cost-effective health interventions, both clinical and public health. A range of conditions and health interventions which are effective in both younger and older people will be examined.

We will focus on the potential impact of interventions in older populations on inequalities in health outcomes. We will explore how such inequalities arise and seek to identify ways to intervene to prevent them.

Social inequalities in health among older populations seem to be widening and this work package will explore one potentially important cause with a view to identifying ways to reduce such inequalities.

Why is this important?

It is important because the health of older people will be adversely affected if they fail to receive health interventions which improve the quality and quantity of life. Moreover, age-discrimination is something which has been found fairly extensively in the past, but should not be occurring now, not least because recent age-equality legislation has been introduced.

How will the research be carried out?

A number of sub-studies are being undertaken. Currently, the research carried out in ScHARR includes two sub-studies:

  • A literature review of existing published evidence about inequality in access to health interventions in older people:
  • A study using existing data on utilisation of smoking cessation services in older people.


From November 2013 until March 2017

Who is undertaking the research?

In Sheffield

Sarah Salway, Nick Payne, Melanie Rimmer, Hannah Jordan

How are stakeholders being engaged?

  1. Stakeholder consultation events; and
  2. Engagement with PPI representatives on the ScHARR SPHR Advisory Group.

What will be the outputs from the study?

  • Presentations at scientific conferences:
    Early findings were presented at the British Society for Gerontology Annual Conference in Newcastle, UK in July 2015.
  • Publications in Journals
  • Reports and presentations to lay audiences including stakeholders