Monday, 16 March 2015
Pledge of £300m for dementia research
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a new, long-term strategy over the next five years to combat dementia, which includes investing £300m in research into the disease.
The announcement comes hot on the heels of news from Alzheimer’s Research UK, which recently revealed a £30m research collaboration, which will see nearly a hundred new research scientists fast-tracking the development of new treatments for dementia. The three flagship drug discovery institutes at the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford and UCL (University College London) will make up a Drug Discovery Alliance dedicated to early stage drug discovery.
It is hoped the number of people taking part in dementia research will double in the next five years and a new online and telephone service to facilitate people taking part in dementia research studies will be launched next week, according to the Prime Minister.
Training for all NHS staff
Mr Cameron has also announced that all NHS staff – from surgeons to hospital porters – will be given training in dementia so that people have the know-how and understanding to provide the best possible standards in care.
Mr 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.”
Britain has emerged as one of the world leaders in fighting dementia since 2010 with investment in research doubled, hundreds of thousands of NHS staff given specialist training and one million
‘Dementia Friends’ taking part in awareness sessions across the country.
Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020
The Prime Minister wants to build on that momentum both in the UK and worldwide. The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 is the next phase in the country’s effort to combat the condition.
GP diagnosis rates have increased from 42 per cent to 59 per cent in just three years but too many people are waiting up to six months for a full assessment, causing worry and uncertainty for people and their families.
This will no longer be tolerated, under the new drive to get better diagnosis rates. There will also be a greater focus on the support given to people following their diagnosis such as giving people with dementia better information about the services available locally, as well as advice and support for carers.
Dementia is a growing problem. In 10 years it is expected there will be one million people living with dementia in the UK.
The Prime Minister launched the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia in 2012, and hosted the first-ever dedicated G8 event on dementia in 2013 to secure greater global cooperation between leading nations. Over 437,920 NHS staff have already received dementia training and more than 100,000 social care workers have received dementia awareness training, more than any other country worldwide.
UK diagnosis rates highest in the world
Diagnosis rates in the UK are also now the highest in the world. Hilary Evans, charity director of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Over the past three years we’ve seen the Prime Minister’s challenge play a pivotal role in creating a heightened focus on dementia and boosting the case for more research.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is proud to have spearheaded the research challenge and successfully launched a number of pioneering global initiatives that will bring us ever closer to finding a cure.
“It is vital that we continue to energise a movement across society to improve the lives of people with dementia and that research into the condition continues to be a priority.”
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, added: “This Government has rightly prioritised dementia. We would all acknowledge the work that remains to be done, but the PM deserves credit for the phenomenal achievement in getting dementia on the national and global agenda and this has resulted in significant progress.”
Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s national clinical director for Dementia, said that awareness of dementia is at its highest level and “to have one million Dementia Friends shows the enormous strides we have taken in the last 3 years”.
He called for people to continue to raise awareness, invest in the search for new treatments, and most importantly improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Public Health England called for collaborative working and said: “The sheer scale of the challenge posed by dementia means we all need to work together to address it. Public Health England is doing all it can to raise awareness of this disease and in helping the public and businesses support people living with the disease by becoming Dementia Friends.”