NHS rationing reports are red flag for dementia treatment

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By Philip Tubby | Friday 01 December 2017

Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, is calling on the government to protect dementia treatments as the NHS copes with future budget concerns.

Reports in the media following yesterday’s NHS board meeting suggest that future treatments may be rationed due to budget constraints, including treatments for dementia, arthritis, hearing loss and blindness. Alzheimer’s Research UK believes these reports are concerning in the face of the UK’s ageing population and ongoing efforts to develop life-changing treatments for dementia.

Alison Evans, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“With 850,000 people currently living with dementia, a number projected to exceed one million in just eight years, dementia research and treatment must become a national priority.

“Reports that dementia treatments could be limited in future are deeply concerning, both for the people with dementia benefiting from medicines today, and for the thousands whose lives could be transformed by future developments in research. If the NHS begins to cut back on dementia treatments now, future treatments could face additional hurdles in reaching people living with dementia.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK’s work to bring about life-changing treatments would have an impact not only on the lives of people living with dementia, but also on the government’s budget. We predict that if a treatment was developed by 2020 that could delay the onset of dementia by just five years, there would be 36 percent fewer people with the condition by 2030, and a total saving of £14.1bn to the UK economy.

“Just as the NHS has chosen to protect certain conditions including cancer and mental health, Alzheimer’s Research UK would like to see dementia given a classification that protects existing and future treatments, and ensures the financial support needed to treat the growing number of people with the condition.”


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Philip Tubby