The Actuarial Profession, Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ, 03 November 2010

Kindly supported by Sanofi Pasteur MSD

Data shows that the most common reason for forced early retirement is ill-health, and that people who retire early due to ill health tend to be those who can least afford to do so. Older workers can also find themselves forced to stop work temporarily due to ill health.

This has huge implications in an ageing society where people are working longer for a variety of reasons including the rising state pension age, poor financial provision, and the desire to continue in their chosen profession.

Increasingly, employers understand and value the contribution that older workers can make, and want to provide a working environment that supports them.
The role of preventative healthcare is rising to the top of the health policy agenda in the UK, but traditionally it has not been seen as important for older people.

However, there are many interventions that have the potential to help older people avoid or minimise illness and stay healthier for longer, thus allowing them to continue to work if they choose to do so. For example, lifestyle interventions in older people can prevent or prolong the onset of cardiovascular disease and vaccination can protect older people from vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza, pneumococcal disease and shingles.

This debate examined the role of preventative healthcare in keeping older people, in particular older workers, in good health including whether this is practical and cost effective and what it means for employers and the economy.

Some of the questions the debate addressed were:

  • In an ageing society, has preventative healthcare become an economic necessity?
  • How can the economic benefit of health prevention be assessed?
  • Is preventative healthcare cost-effective for older people?
  • At what age is preventative healthcare most effective?
  • What is the relationship between ill-health and work?
  • How can preventative healthcare contribute to employment and well-being among the over-50s?
  • How can the private sector play a role in health prevention?
  • Is prevention cheaper than cure?

Agenda from the event:

Registration and refreshments
Introduction by the Chair, Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, House of Lords
Professor Marc Suhrcke, University of East Anglia
Dr Richard Pitman, Oxford Outcomes
Expert panel response (Dr David Heymann, Health Protection Agency, Ms Maggie Rae, Wiltshire PCT, and Mr Russell Turner, Marks and Spencer) and discussion with audience
Close and drinks