Alzheimer's alliance to lobby DoH

The Action on Alzheimer's Drugs Alliance is planning a lobbying assault to make sure doctors continue to prescribe Alzheimer's drugs to people suffering from the early stages of dementia.

The alliance was rocked last week when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) rejected its appeal against the recommendation that drug treatments be denied to patients in the early stages of the condition.

However, the alliance's head of policy and campaigns Andrew Chidgey said its focus had now switched from NICE to the Department of Health.

‘Doctors are not obliged to follow NICE's recommen­dations, but many Primary Care Trusts will follow them to the letter and pull up the drawbridge when NICE recommends a drug not be used,' said Chidgey. ‘Our plan now is to talk to the DoH and ensure doctors continue to prescribe these drugs.'

The ‘serious PR offensive' will target civil servants and ministers. The alliance is planning to use its links with opinion formers to ‘hammer on the door of MPs'.

A national ‘day of action', such as local protest marches, is planned for 17 November, and the alliance is hoping a series of events will raise the profile of the ­issue.

It will continue to use patient case studies to get its message across that people's condition should not have to deteriorate before they are treated by the NHS.

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