Government announces ten-year plan to tackle dementia
A new ten-year plan to tackle dementia will be published later this year, Sajid Javid has confirmed. Speaking at the Alzheimer’s Society Conference 2022, the Health and Social Care Secretary confirmed the ten-year plan will focus on how new medicines and emerging science and technology can be harnessed to improve outcomes for dementia patients across the country.
Record NHS funding will help reduce the COVID backlog of dementia diagnoses, with 30,000 people facing delays during the pandemic. This will ensure timely support for the more than 900,000 believed to be living with dementia in the UK. The plan will also focus on supporting people with their specific health and care needs while living with dementia. The prediction is one million people will be living with dementia by 2025 and 1.6 million by 2040.
Work was started by the UK Government to tackle the global dementia challenge at the first G8 dementia summit in 2013. The Challenge on Dementia 2020 was another milestone, which saw one million care workers and one million NHS workers receiving dementia awareness training. The government has already committed £375 million into research on neurodegenerative diseases over the next five years and the Health and Social Care Secretary has committed to working across government to boost this further.
Up to 40% of dementia is considered potentially preventable, which is why the strategy will also include actions to tackle high blood pressure, physical inactivity, alcohol and obesity, and to promote healthy eating.
Alzheimer’s Research UK said that the Government must increase funding for dementia research if its bold approach to tackling dementia is to be successful.
Susan Mitchell, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is encouraging to see the Secretary of State announce a more ambitious approach to dementia as an acknowledgement of the scale of the challenge – but with no disease modifying treatments available, we need to see funding for research to match this ambition and achieve long term solutions.
“Given the Government has so far not delivered on its 2019 ’Dementia Moonshot’ pledge to double funding for dementia research we need to see these latest commitments followed up by clear plans with accountability and suitable funding to enable delivery.
“We’ve called for the creation of a Dementia Medicines Taskforce to address the urgent need for new treatments for people with dementia. Such a taskforce could turbocharge efforts to develop and deliver life-changing treatments but would need clear leadership from Government to co-ordinate this activity.
“The Government’s existing target of diagnosing two thirds of people with dementia has not been ambitious enough so we welcome a stronger focus on improving the timeliness and accuracy of diagnosis. We must invest in research to improve the way we diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s and ensure that innovations in diagnosis make their way into the health service as quickly as possible.
“We are pleased to see the Secretary of State highlight the importance of preventing dementia through risk reduction. With up to 40% of dementia cases potentially preventable we must see the Government embed approaches to good brain health across all policy areas to help more people reduce their risk of dementia.”