SIR: After waiting for a new hip for over two years I had a long phone chat with my surgeon recently. He was very kind and sympathetic and was really quite upset to have to tell me that due to the Covid-19 backlog of ops the government now sanction new hips and knees only for people under 65. As a result I am extremely unlikely to get a new hip before well into 2021.

So there we have it - we older people are of no value to society and should have no expectation of living out our worthless and already overlong lives free of pain.

I sound bitter and twisted but actually I’m quite resigned to continue on crutches and sometimes sleep on the sofa because I can’t face the pain of climbing the stairs - so long as I don’t try to move about - to make a cup of tea, go to the loo or tend my garden I am reasonably comfortable.

It looks to me to be part of the bigger picture of how our current society regards older people as a nuisance. Even the ‘stay at home if your over 70’ business wasn’t really to keep us, a precious resource safe, but to ensure that our frailties wouldn’t overburden the NHS. With the NHS in its present parlous state it is the perfect time to stop tinkering and overhaul the system completely. A review of the healthcare system in place in Germany and France would be an ideal place to start. This would involve all but the very poorest citizens paying for a modest complementary insurance which guarantees excellent care and does not overburden the state care to which everyone is automatically entitled.

Freda Bates,

Western Road,