Sunshine and Showers

Sunshine and Showers

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

NHS boss defends lottery drug rules

PUBLISHED: 15:18 04 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:29 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK Health insisted doctors will not prescribe a new drug for Alzheimer's sufferers, until special memory clinics are set up.

Chief executive David White's words come despite the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) telling the Evening Star yesterday that clinics are not mandatory - and were being used as an excuse by Suffolk Health.

SUFFOLK Health insisted doctors will not prescribe a new drug for Alzheimer's sufferers, until special memory clinics are set up.

Chief executive David White's words come despite the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) telling the Evening Star yesterday that clinics are not mandatory – and were being used as an excuse by Suffolk Health.

Alzheimer's sufferer Audrey Weetch – wife of former Ipswich MP Ken Weetch – spoke up about the 'postcode lottery' because the NHS denied her Donepezil, which is prescribed in other regions.

Mr White said the drug was not 'banned' in Suffolk, and he accepted such medication could be prescribed within NICE guidance.

But he added the guidance stated: "assessment in a specialist clinic, including tests ... should be made before the drug is prescribed.

"The NICE guidance also states that following the initial assessment, further assessments – usually two to four months after reaching maintenance dose of the drug – plus regular six-monthly assessments should be made.

"In discussion with the local clinicians, it was apparent that they would not be able to meet these requirements unless memory clinics were introduced. It was their view that until these clinics are available they would be unable to prescribe these medications on a regular basis.

"The Authority has since been working with Local Health Partnerships NHS Trust…to help establish the necessary infrastructure."

He admitted it was 'regrettable' that the Alzheimer's issue was taking longer to resolve than other NICE guidelines.

Meanwhile, Mary Holloway, of Felixstowe, admired Mrs Weetch for highlighting "the appalling iniquity."

She wrote to the Department of Health, John Gummer MP, and asked questions at public meetings of Suffolk Coastal Primary Care Group, and thinks authorities may be poised to make the funding of such medications mandatory.

Ipswich man Anthony Kelly said his wife Evelyn, 66, was prescribed Exclon for dementia for two years, then the drug was stopped.

The doctor said it was not helping her, but Mr Kelly suspects the £300-a-month cost was a factor.

Ipswich Multiple Sclerosis sufferer Kelvin Brown, 60, can't get BetaInterferon, a drug which hit the headlines for its unavailablity in parts of Britain.

The Frampton Road resident said: "I know some people in Ipswich are getting it but my doctor won't prescribe it to me. As Mrs Weetch found, it's a lottery as to whether you get the drugs you need or not. She's got my sympathy.

"I would like the chance to find out whether this drug would help me, regardless of cost."

n What do you think of the NHS postcode lottery?

Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@ecng.co.uk.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists