Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has unveiled plans to make the UK the most dementia friendly society in the world by 2020.
In the absence of a cure, it is imperative we focus current efforts on improving post-diagnostic care for people with dementia
Professor Louise Robinson
Boosting dementia diagnosis and helping people live well with the condition are key elements of Mr Hunt’s plans to make the UK the most dementia friendly society. His strategy includes improving diagnoses rates, raising awareness and encouraging research.
She said: “National policy to date has focused on earlier, more timely diagnosis if dementia. However, in the absence of a cure, it is imperative we focus current efforts on improving post-diagnostic care for people with dementia and improving both the quality of services and thus quality of people’s lives.”
Dementia plans unveiled
The Government’s dementia plan published today sets out a series of commitments, such as:
- Awareness raising, education and discussion of risk reduction for dementia in the NHS Health Check will be extended for the first time to those aged 40 or older – down from 65 currently, in a pilot scheme in partnership with voluntary organisations like the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
- For the first time, people with dementia and their families will be able to make meaningful comparisons about the quality of dementia care in their area.
- Personalised care plans for every patient from their GP;
- A new aim for 10 per cent of all people diagnosed with dementia to take part in research;
- The Care Quality Commission will include standards of dementia care in their inspections.
Hospital care for dementia patients
Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 92% of people think hospitals are frightening for the person with dementia. The rollout of seven day services will particularly benefit dementia patients as it will help make sure they don’t stay in hospital longer than necessary.
Currently, consultant-delivered hospital ward rounds vary across the week and around the country but under new plans all patients in high dependency care will be seen and reviewed by a consultant twice a day, every day of the week by 2020.
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said: “A dementia diagnosis can bring fear and heartache, but I want Britain to be the best place in the world to live well with dementia. Last Parliament we made massive strides on diagnosis rates and research – the global race is now on to find a cure for dementia and I want the UK to win it.
“This Parliament I want us to make big progress on the quality of care and treatment. Hospitals can be frightening and confusing places for people with dementia, so our new plan will guarantee them safer seven day hospital care, as well as tackling unacceptable variations in quality across England through transparent Ofsted style ratings.”
Today’s publications build on a series of national successes on dementia including raising diagnosis rates to their highest ever levels, doubling dementia research funding and getting over one million people to become dementia friends.
Investment in demetia research
The Government has doubled research funding and invested £150m to develop a national Dementia Research Institute to drive forward new treatments and help fulfil our goal to find a cure by 2025. This will be supported by our new aim for 10 per cent of all people diagnosed with dementia to take part in research.
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We applaud the Government’s firm commitment to make the UK the most dementia friendly place in the world.
“Until recently, people with dementia were effectively cast out from society, but the tide is now turning. There are now nearly 1.5 million dementia friends helping to drive this change, and communities up and down the country are working to make streets, towns and cities more inclusive.”