Leader: Caring for elderly is growing challenge

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Waiting 40 weeks to be seen by a specialist in hospital is ridiculous for anyone.

When you are a 79-year-old housebound man, the situation is little short of outrageous.

Today’s story about Charles Menzies is just another example of the immense pressure our health services are under.

Mr Menzies suffers from a string of medical conditions and is in severe pain. That he will have to wait the best part of a year for the treatment he desperately needs is deeply worrying.

We recognise of course that there is huge demand for services and limited capacity but we have to do better to serve an elderly man and allow him to enjoy his retirement.

As Mr Menzies points out today: “When you’re my age, 40 weeks seems like an eternity, I might not be here by then.”

There are no easy solutions to the capacity problems the health service is facing not just in the Lothians but around the country. Cases like that of Mr Menzies - someone who has paid into the system all his life only to find it is lacking when he needs it - should serve to focus efforts to do better. Much better.

With an ageing population, the challenge is only likely to grow.