A ban on age discrimination has been shelved by ministers, leaving millions of pensioners at risk of inferior hospital treatment, more expensive insurance and a narrower choice of holidays.

Measures to outlaw ageism in the provision of goods and services were due to become law from April this year, but the Home Office has delayed the implementation until at least October.

Campaigners said they feared that the Coalition was not committed to tackling age discrimination and that the proposed law could be abandoned. A series of official reports have uncovered cases of pensioners being left without adequate food or water on hospital wards or home helpers failing to care for their clients with dignity and respect.

Age UK, the leading charity for the elderly, warned that older patients would be denied the protection they needed in law from inferior treatment on the NHS.

“It is unacceptable that these provisions still do not have legal force” said Michelle Mitchell, its charity general. “It is vital that the Government commits as soon as possible to implementing this protection for older people”

Other areas where concerns have been raised over ageism include financial services products and holidays, with some firms routinely denying older customers certain holiday deals.

The home office said it wanted to take more time to consider how the ban should be implemented and the need for detailed exemptions for certain business.

Article from Times