NHS England will invest £90 million to towards their aim of diagnosing two thirds of people with dementia by March 2015. In some areas it takes up to 25 weeks to carry out diagnostic assessments whereas in others the wait is as little as six weeks on average.
In addition to improving diagnosis, the GP Contract that the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recently negotiated will mean that from April, every person over 75 will have a named accountable GP and the most crucial two per cent in each practice will receive an enhanced service including same day telephone consultations and proactive case management. People diagnosed with dementia and their carers will also be able to sign up to a new service on the NHS Choices website to get essential help and advice in the early stages of their condition.
From April 2015, councils and the NHS will get £3.8 billion in the Better Care Fund to work with each other and the voluntary sector and it is expected that local areas will use some of this to improve care for people with dementia, such as providing access to dementia advisors, reminiscence services and counselling. The best areas already do this and the Health Secretary is asking Health and Wellbeing Boards to make this a reality across the country.
Leading British businesses have also signed up to the cause with over 190,000 staff at M&S, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy on board to learn how to support customers who have dementia. Additionally, 60,000 people have already signed up to the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends programme. This will bring the total number of Dementia Friends to over 250,000.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “Today’s package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our high streets to the quest for a cure.”
“Becoming a Dementia Friend is about being helped to understand more about what dementia is, how it can affect a person’s ability to do day-to-day things and how to make a difference.”
Seth Rogen has recently given a new voice to Dementia and Alzheimer’s after he gave an important speech in Congress on the 26th of February. He mentioned the effects it has had on his mother-in-law.
He said “I’m here, simply, is to show people that they are far from alone, so few people share their personal stories.” He also spoke about his decision to start the fund ‘Hilarity For Charity’ to support families and research on Dementia.”
“We started Hilarity for Charity. Hilarity for Charity is a fund we have, as a part of the Alzheimer’s Association, to raise money to help assist families with Alzheimer’s and support cutting-edge research. That’s right, the situation is at a critical stage that it caused me to start an entire charity organisation.”
There are over 820,000 people living with dementia in the UK today. Dementia costs the UK economy £23 billion per year. During the twentieth century, life expectancy has rose dramatically amongst the world’s wealthiest populations from around 50 to over 75 years. Age is the most significant known factor for people obtaining dementia, meaning more people have a higher possibility of having dementia in the future. This increase in life expectancy can be attributed to a number of factors including improvements in public health, nutrition and medicine. Vaccinations and antibiotics greatly reduced challenges in childhood, health and safety in manual workplaces improved and fewer people smoked.
Do you believe the investment is focused in the right areas, in terms of improving dementia diagnosis and care or could it be improved?