NHS England’s Professor welcomes Prime Minister’s dementia announcement

A new vision for dementia, announcement by the Prime Minister, has been welcomed by NHS England’s Clinical Director for Dementia Professor Alistair Burns.

On Saturday, David Cameron announced the next phase of the government’s “challenge on dementia” programme.

He pledged £300m of investment into dementia research over the next parliament, a new global fund on dementia, one million NHS staff to be trained in dementia, and faster assessments, better care for all. Nationally, initial dementia assessments will take place in an average of six weeks, followed by better support post-diagnosis.

Professor Burns said: “Awareness of dementia is at its highest level and to have 1 million Dementia Friends shows the enormous strides we have taken in the last three years.

“We are beginning to change the way society respects and treats people with dementia. We can change the lives of tens of thousands of people for the better if we can continue to raise awareness, invest in the search for new treatments, and most importantly improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.”

The number of people being diagnosed with dementia has been steadily rising and as of January an estimated 398,597 people had been added to the dementia register, up from 250,000 in 2009.

Since March the numbers have jumped from 349,000 with between 5,000 and an extra 10,000 people a month now being added to the dementia register.

Announcing the dementia vision, Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, and I am proud that we are leading the world in fighting it.

“Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer.

“That way, we can help make Britain a country that offers security in retirement for all.”

He also announced the creation of a new global fund on dementia, which would see investors from the public and private sectors unite to fund a range of research projects.