A PROFESSOR has accused the Government of `hidden ageism' after plans to withdraw Alzheimer's drugs.
John Wattis, professor of old age psychiatry at Huddersfield University, is outraged at the plans to stop Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl being available free on the NHS.
He said he is bemused by the decision and was concerned there were purely financial motives behind the withdrawals.
Prof Wattis, who also works as a consultant at St Luke's Hospital, Crosland Moor, said he was worried people will be forced into care homes earlier if the drugs are not available.
He said: "It does feel like a hidden ageism is behind these recommendations.
"I have spoken to patients and relatives and they are all very positive about these drugs.
"I am shocked about the guidance. I really did not expect these drugs to be deemed too expensive after the results we have had.
"In the long term I believe it will end up costing the state more because people will have to be looked after in homes earlier than necessary."
The award-winning Memory Monitoring Service, based at St Luke's, works closely with patients and prescribes the drugs that are now facing the scrap. Prof Wattis said the results and research the service has done should be enough to prove how well the drugs have worked.
"I have seen it at first hand," he said. "These drugs improve the quality of life for people. And why should old people not get the same quality of care as the young?
"Just because someone is in their 70s or 80s does not mean we can ignore them."