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Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps he has taken to facilitate early diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia on the part of GPs in the last three years; (249399)

(2) what recent steps he has taken to provide rapid access to effective drug treatment to those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The importance of early diagnosis, intervention and care options for people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, will be emphasised in the national dementia strategy, which will be published shortly.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published technology appraisal guidance on drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in September 2007. The guidance recommends a number of drugs for use in the moderate stage of the disease and national health service organisations are now statutorily required to make funding available to implement NICE’s recommendations. NICE has also published a clinical guideline on dementia, which we expect NHS organisations to implement over time.