Preventive health screening of elderly okayed

Given the chronic shortage of geriatricians, it was not clear whether there are currently enough professionals to properly screen all the hundreds of thousands of people in this age group.

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October 5, 2010 04:18
1 minute read.
A patient visits hs doctor for a checkup.

311_doctors office. (photo credit: MCT)

 
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A NIS 51 million program to encourage the four public health funds to perform health screenings on people aged 70 and over was passed by the cabinet on Monday at the initiative of the Pensioners Affairs Ministry.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is formally both health and pensioners’ minister, said it “expressed the improved quality of treatment” of the elderly.

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Many older citizens suffer from a decline in their health, he said. “Carrying out periodic comprehensive medical checkups for all elderly will help promote society’s health,” he said.

The decision was announced to mark International Senior Citizens Day, which is held annually on October 1.

Netanyahu thanked Deputy Minister Leah Ness for the initiative and her efforts all year round to promote the status of the elderly.

She said that general geriatric assessments can prevent the physical and mental decline of elderly at risk; this group does not often receive such professional assessment. Screening and early diagnosis and treatment, she said, can eliminate the need for unnecessary hospitalizations and improve quality of life.

Given the chronic shortage of geriatricians, it was not clear whether there are currently enough professionals to properly screen all the hundreds of thousands of people in this age group. Primary care physicians already are allowed to screen their elderly patients for disease.

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