United Against Dementia in Parliament
This week I attended an Alzheimer’s Society event for parliamentarians to learn more about the issues affecting people with dementia. There are 850,000 people suffering from dementia in the UK and 1,088 estimated to be living with the disease in the Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area.
Having dementia can have a devastating impact and could happen to any one of us, in any community. That is why we must all act to tackle dementia.
There is currently no cure, and very few effective treatments. Funding for dementia research has lagged behind that of other major health conditions such as cancer or heart disease. In recent years progress has been made, with £250million investment committed to the establishment of the world’s first dementia research institute. But we still have a long way to go until we find a cure and understand how to care for people living with the disease.
The previous Labour Government launched the first ever national dementia strategy, appointed the first national clinical directors for dementia, and commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop the quality standard for dementia. Together, those began the process of establishing memory clinics, providing better training for GPs and improving the quality of dementia care for people in hospital.
As we work to find a cure for dementia I believe we should place an equal emphasis on the care provided to people living with disease and the support provided to their families and carers. I am concerned that the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services reports that £4.6 billion has been cut from adult social care budgets and that 300,000 fewer people are receiving publicly funded services than in 2009-10.
At the General Election, the Labour manifesto committed to establish a National Care Service, backed up by an additional £8 billion for social care budgets, in order to build capacity to move quickly towards a joined-up service, provide care closer to home, and deliver a 21st century health system.
If you are personally affected by dementia then please visit Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia connect website where you can find the services they provide near you. Or you can call their helpline on 0300 222 11 22.