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Ageing population needs protection: ONS

Ageing population needs protection: ONS

Government and providers must work together more to help cater for people needing protection, after official statistics revealed that more than one-third of UK adults has a longstanding illness or disability.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there was a high incidence of people suffering from debilitating conditions, which often require costly care, across England, Scotland and Wales.

The study, Adult Health in Great Britain, 2013, showed 36 per cent of adults reported having such a condition, and 20 per cent reported having one that limits their activities.

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The commonly reported difficulties caused by these conditions were with mobility, stamina, breathing and fatigue. Some 15 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 have reported living with an LSI, raising the spectre of a lifetime’s worth of bills for care and support that needed to be met.

“More than one in three people in Great Britain live with a long-standing illness or disability. This can affect many areas of a person’s life, including employment, relationships, education and the ability to live independently”, the study said.

It added: “Long-standing illness and disability is an increasingly important issue for governments and health and social care providers. Long-term conditions account for 70 per cent of health and social care spending and 50 per cent of all GP consultations in England.”

Also according to the ONS, rising longevity has meant more people need costly care to cope with LSIs. It added that this was an increasingly important issue for governments and health and social care providers.

The report stated: “Long-term conditions account for 70 per cent of social care spending and 50 per cent of all general practitioner consultations.”

Paul Hudson, chief executive at Gloucestershire-based specialist protection provider Cirencester Friendly, said, “Many people think that good financial planning is just about saving money and planning for retirement. They overlook the potentially devastating situation that can arise if they are unable to work and earn their living.

“Many individuals might find themselves in dire straits quite quickly if their earnings stop because they become ill or injured. That is why good protection planning is an absolute must in people’s lives.”

Adviser View

Roy McLoughlin, partner for London-based Master Adviser, said, “Whenever I see statistics such as these from the ONS, a big signpost appears stating this is more prevalent than people think. So we have to look to raise awareness and create solutions. The problem is a behavioural one, in that most of us think, this won’t happen to me. But you have to say to people, sorry, it will.

“It is a duty of advisers to raise the need for protection with clients. After all, what is the point in giving advice on pensions and investment if we don’t talk to them about this?”