HC Deb 15 December 1998 vol 322 cc470-1W
25. Mr. David Heath

To ask the Secretary of State for Health under what circumstances the age of a patient is the determining factor in the provision of NHS treatment. [62468]

Mr. Hutton

The fundamental principle of the National Health Service is to provide services for everybody on the basis of clinical need.

There are particular circumstances in which age may be one factor in determining the provision of NHS services. Immunisation programmes are targeted at certain age groups, for example this year for the first time all people over 75 have been targeted for influenza vaccination. Screening services may also be targeted at particular age groups, for example breast screening is targeted at women between the ages of 50 and 64. As natural fertility declines with age, health authorities may operate eligibility criteria for specialised infertility treatment which may include age.