Iconic choreographer and director addressed MPs at Alzheimer’s Society Parliamentary event during Dementia Action Week 2023.
Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, Dame Arlene Phillips, appeared at a special Dementia Action Week event in Parliament to urge the Government to deliver timely access to an accurate dementia diagnosis and tackle regional variation in diagnosis rates.
Dame Arlene met Members of Parliament at Alzheimer’s Society’s event in the House of Commons, alongside Koula Louki and Eamonn Dobbyn, who shared their experiences of living with dementia; Alzheimer’s Society CEO, Kate Lee; and clinicians, Professor Farooq Khan, and Dr Charles Marshall, both of whom have expertise in diagnosis.
During the Parliamentary event, MPs were able to find out the dementia diagnosis rate in their constituency, and how this compares to the national picture.
All MPs attending were then given a personalised ask to take away to help drive the urgent action that’s needed to push up diagnosis rates across the country.
The event follows last week’s publication of a Dementia Diagnosis Statement signed by a group of 27 dementia experts calling for a timely dementia diagnosis to be a fundamental right for people living with dementia, through better funded and evidence-based dementia pathways that will provide effective care, support, intervention, and treatment.
Early and accurate diagnosis not only helps to prepare families for the future but opens the door to treatments, care, and support.
However, dementia diagnosis rates fell to a five year low during the pandemic and have stagnated since, with significant regional variations in diagnosis rates meaning where you live can be one of the biggest barriers to diagnosis.
In January this year, Dame Arlene was part of a delegation from the charity that delivered an open letter signed by 36,000 members of the public to Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, at Downing Street.
It demanded the Government urgently fulfil its promises on dementia, including reform of the social care system and doubling of spending on dementia research by 2024.
At the event Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Dame Arlene Phillips said:
“Sadly, like hundreds of thousands of families across the UK, I’ve seen the devastation caused by dementia, while caring for my father.”
“Earlier, more accurate diagnosis is essential for people to be potentially eligible for the exciting new treatments coming down the line for early-stage Alzheimer’s, and for everyone affected to get the vital help and support they need.
I stand with everyone affected by dementia and urge the Government to deliver on their promises for the 900,000 people living with dementia.”
“They need help now and hope for the future through more breakthroughs in research. We can’t let dementia fall down the political agenda – getting a diagnosis is the first step but such an important one.”