Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Older people, Newry Armagh MLA Micky Brady has said that not enough is being done by the Health Service to improve the lives of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Speaking ahead of an Assembly debate on the issue Mr Brady said:
"There are nearly 10,000 people here with Alzheimer's disease in north. 5,500 of these people will be in mid/early stage and nearly 3,200 in the moderate stage of the illness.
"Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 62% of all dementia cases. Yet the fact is that people who are affected by dementia do not seek the support from the health services that they need and are entitled to and even if they do those services often do not to meet their needs.
"We know that primary care has an essential role to play in the prevention, detection and management of dementia. We now need to see greater commitment and resources to focus on early diagnosis intervention and treatment. We need to deliver improved access to general health and social care interventions for people with dementia. We also need to tackle issues of stigmatization because we also know that people with dementia can be excluded from residential care.
"There are a number of drug treatments for Alzheimer's currently available on the NHS for all patients that clinicians believe would benefit from them. In some cases the drugs can be effective but each case needs to be judged on its own merits. However, the bottom line is that No-one who could benefit from a drug should be denied access to it on reasons of cost." ENDS