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Ageing, Autonomy and Resources
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  1. Julian C Hughes
  1. Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry, Centre for the Health of the Elderly, Newcastle General Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6BE

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    Edited by A Harry Lesser, Aldershot, Ashgate, 1999, x + 245 pages, £39.45 (hb).

    We should be passionate about the elderly. This book contains, albeit with the occasional lull, some passion, adroit philosophical argument and fascinating social and political insights. It originates from a conference in 1992 and, despite talk of Mrs Thatcher, the book has aged well. The first half deals with autonomy in the elderly; whilst the second considers the allocation of scarce resources. The shift from ethics, via clinical practice, to economics and politics is effected with little effort, precisely because of the book's passion. For it deals with real problems that affect individuals and nations.

    I wonder if autonomy was a Thatcherite notion?! We loved it in the individualistic 1980s, but its appeal has lessened. It does not solve all our problems and is, perhaps, a hindrance to some elderly people. Dunn links it to being human and to human …

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