Hunt unveils dementia care plans
Published on 28 February 2014 01:00 PM
Ministers have announced a range of measures to improve dementia care.
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he wanted to introduce faster diagnosis, more funding for research and greater help from businesses to support sufferers.
Some £90 million will be invested by NHS England in a bid to diagnose two-thirds of those with the condition by March 2015.
Several major employers have also signed up to help their staff become 'dementia friends' who will be trained to spot the signs and offer support.
Firms backing the scheme include Marks & Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy.
800,000 people in the UK have dementia
Figures from the Alzheimer's Society indicate that around 800,000 people in the UK have dementia. 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will develop the condition, and two-thirds of sufferers are women.
Mr Hunt said: 'Dementia can be a horrific and heartbreaking disease, but it is my mission as health secretary to make this country the best place in the world to get a dementia diagnosis, as well as a global leader in the fight to find a cure.'
But Labour claimed that more still needed to be done to tackle poor standards of care.
Liz Kendall, shadow minister for care and older people, said: 'Dementia is one of the greatest challenges we face as a country. The Prime Minister is right to focus on it and Labour supports the Government's commitments on research, and to ensure everyone with dementia is properly diagnosed.'
But she warned that cuts to council care budgets have affected the quality of life of thousands of people with dementia and their families.
Ms Kendall added: 'This isn't good for them, and is a false economy as an increasing number of elderly people with dementia are ending up in hospitals or care homes when they don't need to.'
Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said the new announcement was a 'positive step' towards ensuring that all sufferers receive a timely assessment.
'Too often we hear about a lack of suitable services available to people with dementia and their carers,' Mr Hughes said.
'We welcome the focus on post-diagnosis support which will provide a vital lifeline to thousands who are currently left in the dark, with nowhere to turn for advice or support.'
Copyright Press Association 2014