The evidence base is generally very weak and needs building. Specific service areas are taken in turn below.
Health care services
The evidence base for socio-economic inequalities among older people is strongest in the field of health care, compared with other public services. However, the evidence is still limited and piecemeal. The literature is largely restricted to individual studies of discrete conditions. More research is needed to explore the extent of socio-economic inequalities among older people in all aspects of health care service use.
Social care services
Socio-economic inequalities are built in to the public social care system, which is needs-tested and means-tested. Older people from middle socio-economic groups are most disadvantaged in this system. However, this shows only a tiny part of the overall picture, since only a minority of older people are eligible for public social care services. The vast majority must fund their care privately.