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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Old Age Psychiatry news

 News from the old age psychiatry faculty


02/02/09 Oral feeding difficulties and dilemmas: A guide to practical care, particularly towards the end of life'

This report has been prepared by the Royal College of Physicians in conjunction with the British Society of Gastroenterology in response to continuing unease about the lack of consensus, including among doctors, about when artificial nutrition and hydration is appropriate. The ultimate aim is to improve care by providing healthcare professionals, patients, their families and carers with practical advice that has a sound legal and ethical basis, and to prevent distressing and complicated disagreements. For more information please see attached information leaflet and press statement.


News from the old age psychiatry faculty

12/11/09  DH report on antipsychotics in management of Dementia by Professor Sube Banerjee has been released.

Up to 150,000 people treated with powerful "chemical cosh" drugs for dementia are given them unnecessarily, a report said today. Just one in five of those given the medicines in care homes and hospitals derive any benefit from them. The Government-ordered review estimates that overprescribing of the drugs is linked to an extra 1,800 deaths a year among elderly people.


Professor Banerjee's report and recommendations cover England. The government has agreed to take steps to reduce use of the drugs.


These include:


  • Improving access to other types of therapy, such as counselling
  • Better monitoring of prescribing practices
  • Guidance for families explaining what they can do if they are worried about drug use
  • Specialist training in dementia for health and social care staff
  • Appointment of a new national director for dementia to oversee the measures
  • 21/10/2009: "Age Descrimination in NHS should end"  Andy Burnham, Minister for Health
  • 13/10/2009: Tens of thousands of over-65s at risk in mental health services RCPsych press release

 News from the old age psychiatry faculty

09/07/09: First specialist dementia advisors start work

People with dementia and their families will get more support throughout the course of the illness as the first dementia advisors start work from today. Demonstrator sites, announced by Care Services Minister Phil Hope, will kick off in 22 areas around the country. An additional 18 sites will test different kinds of support networks for families and carers.

The advisors will act as a guide to help people with dementia and their families navigate the care and support system throughout their illness. They will help provide easy access to care, support and advice. The sites piloting support networks will test different ways of providing local practical and emotional support for people with dementia and their carers and give them an opportunity to take an active role in developing local services. Some of the services that will be piloted include dementia cafes – places where people with dementia and their carers can meet up -  and a simple social networking site which will allow people with dementia to network with others.

Phil Hope said: “This is the beginning of real change to transform the lives of people with dementia. We know that people with dementia and their families are under huge strain. Dementia advisors will be there for them when they need help, from diagnosis onwards".  


News from the old age psychiatry faculty

12/06/2009: Update on NICE appraisal of drugs for Alzheimer’s disease following Court of Appeal ruling

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has today announced that, following consultation with stakeholders on the economic model that underpinned NICE’s 2006 guidance on the use of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease, the resulting draft guidance remains unchanged.

In accordance with the Court of Appeal’s ruling on the economic model used in the technology appraisal of drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, NICE released the fully executable version of the model to stakeholders for their comment in November 2008. Having fully reviewed all the resulting comments the Independent Advisory Committee concluded that, although a number of technical inaccuracies were highlighted and amendments were made to the economic model, these were not sufficient to change the original conclusion that these treatments are not cost effective in the mild stages of the disease.

NICE guidance on the use of donepezil, galantamine and rivastigmine and memantine for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease therefore remains unchanged and the drugs continue to be recommended only for people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Consultees now have a chance to appeal against this decision.


06/04/2009: The Royal College of Physicians has recently launched the national guideline Advance care planning

New national concise guidelines ‘Advance Care Planning' (ACP) show healthcare professionals how, when and where to discuss issues about mental conditions and treatment with patients. It also explains how to document choices if the patient wants to record them, particularly if they want to record an advance decision to refuse treatment (ADRT), formerly known as a living will or advance directive.For more information please see leaflet and press release.


Living well in later life - the national report

This national report conducted jointly by the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Audit Commission  follows a review of progress on implementing the National Service Framework for Older People in 10 local communities. The key messages it identifies are that all areas reviewed were struggling to deliver a full range of integrated mental health services for older people with lack of crisis and out of hours services, poor care within acute hospital settings, limited intermediate care services and a lack of mental health promotion. 


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2016 Faculty elections

Following the recent elections, the following have been duly elected to the Old Age Faculty executive committee, to take office from 28 June 2016:

Dr. Amanda Thompsell

Dr. Olu-benga Akande

Executive Committee
Dr. Bob Barber
Professor David Burke
Dr. Catherine Gordon
Dr. Kapila Sachdev
Dr. Srinivas Suribhatla


2016 Current Newsletter:


New report:



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