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Hundreds call for an end to dementia discrimination at mass lobby

Published 16 March 2005

More than 500 people will take part in the biggest parliamentary lobby to be held by the Alzheimer's Society on Wednesday 16 March 2005.

More than 500 people will take part in the biggest parliamentary lobby to be held by the Alzheimer's Society on Wednesday 16 March 2005. People with dementia and their carers will travel from across the country to take part in the event and call for an end to charging for care and challenge draft guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which if unchanged, will see thousands of people with Alzheimer's denied the only drug treatments available to them.

Celebrities including the actress Lynda Bellingham, writer AA Gill, and Family Affairs actress Nicola Duffett will be amongst those campaigning for change. All have first hand experience of the terrible impact dementia has on people's lives.

AA Gill says:

'My father has Alzheimer's disease, so unfortunately I know only too well how devastating its impact can be; not only on the person who has been diagnosed, but also on the their family and friends. It is a cruel disease, which over time gradually robs you of the person you know and love. I am delighted that so many people are taking part in this important event and speaking out on behalf of those who no longer can.'

A recent poll has revealed that 79% of people in the UK believe that care needs arising from a disease or medical condition should be provided free of charge, regardless of age, income or savings. To coincide with the lobby the Alzheimer's Society will also be unveiling its manifesto for people with dementia. The document reveals what people with dementia and their carers have told us are the top ten issues they would like to see the government take action on.

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society says:

'The voices of people affected by dementia must be heard in the general election debate. We are calling on all candidates and political parties standing at the election to look seriously at what can be done to make life better for people with dementia and their carers across the UK. The ballot box may be the only way we will ever get much needed and an end to the discrimination people with dementia and their carers face on a daily basis.'

In advance of the march to Westminster, Lord Sutherland, chair of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care, carer Barbara Pointon, and chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, Neil Hunt will all speak at a rally in St John's Church, Smith Square at 11am.

For media enquiries, contact the Alzheimer's Society press office.

Notes for editors

  • The Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.
  • The Alzheimer's Society is the Medical Journalists' Association Medical Charity of the Year. The Alzheimer's Society is the first organisation to win this award.
  • Over 750,000 people in the UK have dementia. More than half have Alzheimer's disease.
  • Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and one in five over the age of 80.
  • There are 18,500 people in the UK under the age of 65 with dementia.
  • For information and advice on Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia call the Alzheimer's Society national helpline on 0845 300 0336.
  • Our website address is http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/.