HC Deb 15 July 1998 vol 316 c220W
Mr.Nigel Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will allow GPs to issue private prescriptions for Aricept (donepezil) and Exelon (rivastigmine) anti-dementia drugs for their NHS patients;. [49242]

(2) what central funding is available to regional health authorities to provide for Aricept (donepezil) and Exelon (rivastigmine) anti-dementia treatment. [49243]

Mr. Milburn

Aricept and Exelon are both available on the National Health Service, and any general practitioner prescribing them to patients on their NHS list should do so in accordance with GPs' terms of service. Guidance from the Standing Medical Advisory Committee on the use of Aricept for Alzheimer's disease was issued to the NHS on 30 April.

The potential cost arising from the introduction of significant new treatments, including drugs, is taken into account when health authority funding allocations are determined. Thereafter, costs of prescribing all drugs are expected to be met from within these allocations, taking account of local priorities.

Mr. Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support his Department gives to those caring for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. [50230]

Ms Jowell

We value the role of carers, who are fundamental to community and health care, and recognise their valuable contribution to society, which is sometimes made at considerable personal cost. That is why, on 10 June 1998, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced the national strategy for carers. This is a Government-wide review which will examine how carers can best be helped and supported.

The Department issued a Health of the Nation Handbook last year on the mental health of older people which emphasised the importance of carers in the provision of care for older people with mental health problems. The Alzheimer's Disease Society is the main voluntary organisation which supports carers of those suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. The Department enjoys a close working relationship with the society and supports two projects, through funding from its section 64 scheme, aimed at promoting quality dementia care and developing a network of dementia services development centres.