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Cautious reaction to NICE ruling

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has reacted cautiously to a ruling on three Alzheimer's drugs.

The High Court has told the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) it must change its guidance in relation to Aricept, Reminyl and Exelon.

Mrs Justice Dobbs said the tests used to assess Alzheimer's are discriminatory against people with English as a second language and those with learning difficulties.

But the decision has dealt a blow to campaigners as it does not mean people in the early stages of dementia will get access to the medicines.

NICE said its guidance that the drugs should only be prescribed to those in the moderate stages of the disease had been challenged on six grounds - and the judge "found in our favour on five of them".

Heide Baldwin, RCN chair of mental health, said: "We are delighted that the judicial review has recognised the limitations of the current NICE testing guidance, and have told NICE to review it.

"But we remain disappointed that those with mild and severe dementia will not have access to drugs that could drastically improve their quality of life.

"Nurses will continue to be put in the difficult position of diagnosing dementia in the mild stage, and working with families whose relatives have severe dementia, knowing that there are treatments available but not on the NHS."


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"It'’s criminal. The NHS used to involve helping and caring forpeople. Now the people who want to do this - nurses and relatives - areobstructed by people in suits who have lost sight of whatcompassion is all about. Stop wasting money on self -serving penpushers, statistics, computers etc and start treating and caring for those who need it" - Name and address supplied