David Cameron has instigated a programme of work which aims to deliver improvements in dementia care and research by 2015. Dementia is one of the biggest challenges that society faces today. As life expectancy increases, this is a matter which cannot be ignored. At present, 670 000 people in England live with dementia and an estimated 42% of the population have a friend or relative suffering from the disease. This is expected to double in the next 30 years.
The UK is a world leader for dementia research, but not enough is known about the disease and the level of public participation in dementia research remains low. England is one of the first countries in the world to have a National Dementia Strategy. Cameron set out his challenge as did the Alzheimer’s Society which published their report entitled “Dementia 2012: A national challenge”. The Alzheimer’s Society will be leading the work on dementia awareness and has been working closely with the Prime Minister and Department of Health.
The government will focus on improving awareness, quality care and research for dementia. The Prime Minister wants the findings from this research to establish ways to help slow, stop and eventually prevent the condition. Andrew Lansley said this “Challenge sets out the Government’s ambition to increase diagnosis rates, to raise awareness and understanding and to strengthen substantially our research efforts so we can help those living with dementia have a better quality of life.” Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said, “only by working together – Government, community groups, charities and business – can we change attitudes”.