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Health study of pensioners in poverty


Newcastle University is to study whether helping pensioners in poverty to claim their rightful benefits is good for their health.

A small-scale survey has already been performed in the North East, in which 68 out of 126 people who took part received more welfare as a result of advice, £55 being the average increase weekly.

The leader of the new survey, Professor Martin White, said it will be carried out on a larger scale and examine whether extra money actually leads to health benefits.

Participants will be recruited through doctors’ surgeries and letters will be sent out to those eligible within a few weeks.

Many older participants in the earlier study found it hard to make ends meet and many lived in poor health or had to care for a chronically sick relative, said the professor of public health at Newcastle University.

Roughly two million UK pensioners are officially in poverty but a great number of them could emerge from this position if they claimed everything to which they are entitled.


Readers' comments (5)

  • Anonymous

    Personally I would be a bit surprised, if there wasn't a positive link between poorer pensioners having better health if they had more money to spend - but the evidence would be interesting. If the study is properly designed.

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  • well I know the difference it made to my health having to spend a cold very damp few weeks in my home in winter with condensation streaming down the inside of my windows and no entitlement to the heating allowance as I had been living abroad.

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  • Dr Why ?

    Anonymous | 12-Mar-2012 11:48 am

    Quite - it seems obvious that for poorer pensioners, an extra £55 quid a week would be likely to mean better (or even just more !) food, and a warmer home, perhaps better clothes for outdoors, etc.

    And surely it would be remarkable if those things did not improve health - or, perhaps, prevent a decline in health, to view it differently.

    But why is it really necessary to collect the evidence for such things - shouldn't we assume that such things are so likely to be true, that we take them as read until the evidence has been collected to firm up and refine our beliefs ?

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  • Dr Why ? | 12-Mar-2012 2:56 pm

    Anonymous | 12-Mar-2012 11:48 am

    you make good points. A lot of money seems to be spent on research and surveys which one can't help thinking would be better spent on more action.

    The problem with some pensions is that they don't increase as much as
    cost of all the essential basics such as food, clothing and services, etc.

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  • If anyone here works with the elderly i would really appreciate you taking 2 minutes to fill out my survey about the future of elderly care!


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