Published on August 17, 2004 at 9:39 AM
People with Alzheimer’s disease will be denied essential drug treatments as part of a new cost-cutting exercise being considered by East Sussex County Healthcare Trust.
The trust is threatening to stop assessing people with Alzheimer’s disease for treatment with anticholinesterase drugs. These drugs are known to have benefited many people with the disease, as they can help relieve the symptoms of their condition.
The trust says it may be forced to introduce the controversial measures to make up for insufficient funding. Under the proposed three-month moratorium people living in care homes would be denied dementia drugs ‘unless permitted within resources’. Priority will be given to those living in their own homes.
David Sutcliffe, chairman of the Eastbourne and district branch of the Alzheimer’s Society, cannot understand why the trust finds it acceptable to limit treatment for people with dementia in this way.
"It is wrong to assume that people with Alzheimer’s disease in care homes can’t benefit from these drug treatments. There is no good financial or moral reason why they should not receive equal access to healthcare. It appears that the trust has picked on one of the most marginalised groups in our society; people who are often too physically and mentally frail to speak out for themselves."
The Alzheimer's Society believes that this is a public scandal, and has written to the Department of Health and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence to ask what action will be taken to end this unacceptable state of affairs.