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Kick in the teeth for an elderly soldier!


Underlined below is the story of my Father and our fight to get him the treatment he needs for his debilitating illness. Please take time to read it and any support would be most welcome.

My father joined the Royal Engineers as an 18-year-old boy. During his service he rose through the ranks and was eventually offered a commission and retired at the age of 55 as a Major M.B.E. During his service he had many postings, India, Egypt, Malaya, Kenya, Northern Ireland and Nepal being just a few of them. He is now an elderly gentleman in need of assistance from the National Health Service. We outline our fight to obtain access to basic medication that will help him lead a relatively independent life.

Four years ago my wife and I decided to move to North Lincolnshire for a quieter life and a better house. At that time all was well with my Father and Mother.

On his first visit to us in his car he got lost and I had to go and direct him to our house. This was the first indication that all was not right. He had never had problems finding places before and I had given him detailed instructions.

In the following months his mental state gradually deteriorated, he lost interest in reading, watching the television and even gave up his woodturning hobby. Eventually he also gave up driving altogether.

His General Practitioner eventually referred him to see a Consultant Psychiatrist in Medway NHS Trust. He underwent a CT scan of his head that my wife and I paid to have done privately. He would have been forced to wait for a number of months for the NHS to carry it out. He also underwent an MRI scan, which was subsequently carried out by the NHS.

He was getting very agitated by now and was also showing some aggression to my mother, so his consultant prescribed him Quetiapine for his agitation.

Recent research has shown that these Neuroleptic drugs can shorten the lives of people taking them.

After his scan results came back he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but he was never offered any of the medication available e.g. Aricept to help his distressing symptoms.

My mother who is 83 was caring for him at this stage and it was becoming an increasing strain on her. She became unwell and her GP had her admitted into Medway hospital.

With nobody able to care for my father at home, he came to stay with us while my mother recovered in hospital. He was fine for the first night with us but on the second and third nights he was having problems with his orientation as regards the toilet. I was not able to sleep and was feeling terribly stressed as I was so concerned about his welfare.

The whole family was consulted and it was decided that we would put him into a local Nursing Home for respite care until mum came home from hospital. This decision broke my heart at the time as it was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, I cry very rarely but was in tears the day we all came to an agreement to put him in a home.

To see my Fathers distress as I walked him down the corridor to his room in the Nursing home made me feel like a traitor, although in my heart I knew it was the right decision.

I also bought him back home with us for a couple of hours every day after finishing work for the fortnight he was there to try and make the transition easier for him.

My mother was diagnosed with an enlarged heart problem and we realised that the strain of looking after my father was not going to help her situation so we got in touch with Kent social Services. They carried out an assessment on my father on his return after also assessing my mother before leaving hospital.

My father went into short term private respite in Medway before eventually being found a permanent place in a care home in Gillingham Kent where he now gets the 24/7 care he needs.

The care home inform me that only one patient of theirs with Alzheimer’s disease is on medication for the symptoms and although my father has been reviewed by his GP he has never been referred back to the Psychiatric clinic for any effective treatment of his symptoms despite having lived in the care home for a year

I am in the process of trying to get his medication reviewed, because he went into a care home his records were archived at the Psychiatric clinic he attended before going into care and he was then under the care homes GP. I have finally managed to get him referred back to the Dementia Clinic for an urgent review and am hoping for a positive result.

I should not have to be phoning doctors and clinics and requesting a review for my Father, his continuing care should be automatically carried out by the NHS despite his change of circumstances.

I know he cannot be cured, but at least there is hope that he may gain some quality of life albeit for a short time if offered one of the Alzheimer’s medications.

It angers me to have had to watch his mental decline as I know he is a very proud man and liked to be Independent. This debilitating illness is robbing my Father of his ability to communicate, he has lost his Independence and he is totally reliant on his carers to carry out many of the simple daily functions that we all normally do without conscious thought.

For a man who has served Queen and country all of his life to be denied treatment that could help maintain his Independence and quality of life is a kick in the teeth by this government and an absolute disgrace for someone who is elderly and in need for the first time in their lives, not only does he get swept aside as regards treatment but he also has to find £960.00 a month to pay for his care home fees although he does get some help with state funding.

Many people have to sell their homes to pay for their care in their old age, something which should be fully funded by the NHS.

One thing that Alzheimer’s can’t destroy is the love my Father has for us, and the love we have for him, we see the joy in his face when we visit him and the tears in his eyes when we leave but there is an unspoken bond between us that can never be severed.

Alzheimer’s drugs for early and late stage patients have been deemed too expensive at a cost of £2.50 a day by NICE (National Institute for Clinical excellence) and not cost effective. { insert NICE guidance link

Because of my fathers predicament I have become a supporter of the Alzheimer’s society (insert link who are campaigning .for access to Alzheimer’s drugs for early and late stage patients.

The Alzheimer’s Society has expressed its disgust at the NICE appeal panel’s rejection of the Alzheimer’s Society’s appeal on access to Alzheimer’s drugs.

The panel have decided not to change the original guidance of the Appraisal Committee, stating that Alzheimer’s drugs should only be given to people in the ‘moderate’ stages of the disease, and not in the early or later stages.

Thanks to the ruling in November 2006, many people in the early and later stages of Alzheimer’s disease are likely to be refused treatment. This decision could affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, as one in five of us will probably develop dementia at some point in our lives.

The Alzheimer’s Society has decided to take part in a Judicial Review to challenge NICE in the High Court and have had support from the Media and are actively campaigning to raise funds for the fight.

I have also set up a petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website and would be very grateful for your support.

Sign up and Support the Petition

Thanks for your support.


War Hero
That is a truly moving story, you and your father deserve all the help you can get, I have signed your petition because I believe the decision by NICE is wrong. I am sure you have pursued this but just in case you haven't have you contacted SSAFA ? they are able to offer a range of assistance and their support may well be what you need in lieu of a decision review.

Good luck and all the best.



War Hero
Petition signed.
It is completely wrong that someone who has worked all his life and accrued a little savings must pay for care while someone who has neither worked or wanted to is given this treatment as a right. No wonder the younger generation are questioning whether it is worth saving for a pension or old age.


Your father is very lucky to have a son like you and I am sure that he is proud of you. I have signed and I hope that it helps.

Signed with the greatest of pleasure.Unfortunately working in the health service I see this sort of thing all too often.All the best.


Lantern Swinger
Lamri said:
Signed, with deepest sympathy.

I signed this knowing that both of your parents have a treasure in you being such a caring daughter.

I only hope that your Father gets the treatment he deserves being an ex service man. Everyone who has done their bit for the country deserves to be able to live a dignified life.

I have just signed. It is surely perverse that contraceptives can be provided free on the NHS or treatment for self inflicted injuries like lung cancer (where the chemo is VERY expensive) but not drugs like Aricept.

On the issue of patients having to pay for their own treatment in care homes, this is, I'm afraid, die to finite resources being stretched. If care is to be provided free for Alzheimer patients, then other health services need to be curtailed to pay for it. New medical treatments are increasingly expensive, whilst at the same time revenue is limited. This is undoubtably one reason whythe NHS is increasingly seeking to withdraw from providing treatment for obese people and smokers, etc.


Lantern Swinger
Always_a_Civvy said:
I have just signed. It is surely perverse that contraceptives can be provided free on the NHS or treatment for self inflicted injuries like lung cancer (where the chemo is VERY expensive) but not drugs like Aricept.

On the issue of patients having to pay for their own treatment in care homes, this is, I'm afraid, die to finite resources being stretched. If care is to be provided free for Alzheimer patients, then other health services need to be curtailed to pay for it. New medical treatments are increasingly expensive, whilst at the same time revenue is limited. This is undoubtedly one reason why the NHS is increasingly seeking to withdraw from providing treatment for obese people and smokers, etc.

G'day there.

If the UK governments hadn't wasted so much money repaying all the money we borrowed from the yanks to fund the second world war, much of it borrowed to supply tanks and aircraft and war goods for the use of other countries. We may be able to look after our ex servicemen and women like they do here in Australia, their scheme, isn't perfect but is as near as dammit, as to make no difference to it.

After you have left the service with any thing wrong with you, or caused by your service in the services, you get a gold card, if however you haven't qualified by never having served in any action, you don't get the card until you are seventy.

This card covers the ex serviceman or woman and also covers their spouse. You go straight to a private hospital, by Limo, or if there are none available, by Taxi. It covers everything including Dentistry, optical, all operations, including anything that developed after you have left the service. They really do look after all their service folk, if you were good enough to sign on the dotted line, then you should be able to expect to get better treatment straight away, and before anyone who hasn't been in the service of the crown and country.

The benefits are too many to put down here, but they would include coverage of things like we are talking about.



Re Altzeimers Disease.

I am with you wholheartedly. I was Diagnosed as having Altzheimers in 1996. My dear wife fought tooth and nail with the North Lincolnshire Medical Council and after threatening to go to the press, she won. I started on Aricept and was taking it until 1999. I then went on to another drug, but I can't remember what it was (I wonder why?) We moved to Scotland in 2001 and I started to have TIA's (Temporary Infarctive Attacks, minor strokes) I was told it was the drug and was put on to Reminyl, I never looked back. I make models draw and paint and put one day a week at the local Aviation Museum. You must fight hard and nasty. Threaten the authorities that you will go to the press and name names. Use me as an example if you wish. Best of luck.

Ken Garner.
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