Alzheimer's Society September 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and the Alzheimer’s Society stand at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool.

I appreciate that dementia is a distressing condition and I sympathise profoundly with anyone affected by it. 

The Alzheimer's Society estimates that 850,000 people in the UK are already living with dementia and that the number is set to rise to over a million by 2025. 

As you may be aware, the last Labour Government launched the first ever national dementia strategy, appointed the first national clinical director for dementia, and commissioned the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to develop the quality standard for dementia. This began the process of establishing memory clinics, providing better training for GPs and improving the quality of dementia care for people in hospital. 

It is welcome that the current Government is carrying on that work through its Dementia 2020 strategy. However, there is clearly still a long way to go.

I believe that more needs to be done to improve hospital care for dementia patients. I also appreciate that there are real concerns about the state of social care. For example, I am concerned about the impact that the Government's cuts to social care will have on the quality of care and support for people with dementia. Indeed, 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. 

As a consequence, more and more people with dementia are spending time in hospital and, once admitted, are finding that the support is simply not in place in the community for them to return home. I am concerned that the Chancellor's aim to find a further £3.5 billion in savings by 2019-20 will hit council and social care budgets even further.

I applaud the Alzheimer's Society "Fix Dementia Care" campaign and I hope the Government will carefully consider the issues raised by this campaign. It is important that people with dementia receive the highest standards of care in hospital, in a care home, or at home.

Thank you once again for writing to me and telling me about the Alzheimer’s Society conference stand. 

I can assure you I will continue to press the Government to improve care for people with dementia and support for their carers.