A PETITION signed by hundreds of York Alzheimer's sufferers and their families and friends has been presented to Parliament.

City MP Hugh Bayley agreed to take the 680-signature document to the House of Commons to highlight the plight of people in the early stages of the disease.

Campaigners are appealing against a cost-cutting decision by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to deny the drug to some sufferers.

Mr Bayley and Selby MP John Grogan joined a protest march to York Minster against the decision last year.

At 10pm last night, Mr Bayley formally read out the text of the petition on the floor of the House.

Mr Bayley told The Press: "Alzheimer's is a distressing disease for those who suffer from it and those who care for family members with it. If there is anything that can reduce the memory loss the disease causes then the NHS should provide it."

The NICE study recommended treatments Aricept, Exelon and Reminyl should only be funded for people in the moderate stages of the disease, because testing showed it had little impact before then.

But Mr Bayley said: "That is not the experience of people whose relatives have used the drugs, and their experience is important. Decisions about which drugs should be provided and which patients should get them need to be made by doctors - but nevertheless researchers should look again at the evidence."

Last month, Gill Myers, branch manager of the Selby and York Alzheimer's Society, told The Press she had been given hope by the fact that the drug companies had called for a judicial review into the NICE findings.

"We are thrilled with the way it (the campaign) has caught the imagination of particularly older people who are normally terrified by the disease," she said.

"As soon as they have found out that if they do get it, they wouldn't be able to get the drugs to treat it, then they have been very angry."