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Alzheimer’s Society urges UK government to deliver on dementia plan

The strategy, announced in May last year, includes doubling dementia research funding

Alzheimer's Society outside No 10

Alzheimer’s Society has delivered an open letter to the UK government, backed by 36,000 members of the public, urging it to deliver on its ten-year plan for dementia amid concerns of commitments ‘falling by the wayside’.

The UK charity said it had continually asked for an update on the commitments, which include doubling dementia research funding by 2024 and reforming the social care system, but had been told the strategy would be published ‘in due course’ 25 times.

The plan, originally announced in May last year by the then health and social care secretary Sajid Javid, promised to focus on assessing how new medicines and emerging science and technology can be used to improve outcomes for dementia patients across the country.

Commitments also included ‘record’ NHS funding to help reduce the COVID-19 backlog of dementia diagnoses after 30,000 people faced delays during the pandemic, along with a focus on supporting the specific health and care needs of those living with dementia.

A new ‘national dementia mission’ was also announced in August by the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson to help speed up dementia research and recommit to its previous dementia funding pledge.

The mission, which was launched in honour of Dame Barbara Windsor, also includes an additional £95m in ring-fenced funding to boost the number of clinical trials and innovative research projects, as well as a new taskforce similar to the group that delivered COVID-19 vaccines.

Dame Arlene Philips, choreographer and Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, said: “The last government made clear commitments to drive up dementia research, diagnosis rates and improve care and now it’s up to PM Rishi Sunak to deliver them.”

By 2025, around one million people are predicted to be living with dementia, increasing to 1.6 million by 2040.

With diagnosis rates still falling below pre-pandemic levels, national figures have revealed that people are waiting up to two years in some areas for a diagnosis. Research conducted by the charity has also revealed that three in five people affected by dementia have struggled to get social care in the past year.

Alzheimer’s Society’s chief executive officer, Kate Lee, said: “We’ve welcomed previous commitments from the government, but we’re concerned they’re falling by the wayside.

“Too many people still face dementia alone, and PM Rishi Sunak has the chance to seize this moment and genuinely transform dementia research, diagnosis and care for one of the biggest health challenges in the UK.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

23rd January 2023

From: Healthcare



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