Britain's pensioners told the Con-Dem coalition today to back off over its raft of attacks on the elderly.
Cuts to pensions, the NHS and care services could lead to a dramatic drop in the quality - and even length - of life for old people, the annual "pensioners' parliament" in Blackpool warned.
But delegates at the National Pensioners' Convention said they were not fighting for themselves, but for all of us.
Walsall delegate Teresa Cullen told the Morning Star it was a case of "us today, you tomorrow - we're fighting for your pensions as much as our own."
Ms Cullen, 70, said shrinking payouts and rising inflation had forced many people to keep working well past retirement age - increasing the likelihood of work-related injuries or illness due to stress.
And NHS cuts to community programmes meant many working elderly did not get treatment until they landed in hospital - in many cases never to recover.
But the Tory attitude was "so then you pop your clogs and that's one less for pensions," she said.
Ms Cullen - who still works as a first-aid assessor - said she feared what the health service was becoming.
"I dread having to go into hospital and having a sign by my bed saying 'nil by mouth'," she said.
The Royal College of Nursing's Janet Davies agreed that the situation was "absolutely disgraceful."
Studies had repeatedly shown an "absolute correlation" between the number of registered nurses and improved patient outcomes.
But registered nurses working with the elderly were typically understaffed, underresourced and stuck with poor working environments.
Wards for elderly patients had on average between 9.1 and 10.3 patients per registered nurse compared to just 6.7 for general wards.
A letter from Care Services Minister Paul Burstow was met with catcalls and boos as convention president Frank Cooper read it to delegates.
The minister had been expected as recently as last Friday to take questions from the floor - but Mr Cooper said the no-show would not put him off his beer.
The convention would instead post delegates' questions directly to Mr Burstow's office and demand an answer, he said.
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