As a keen supporter of raising dementia awareness, last month’s development in the Prime Ministers Challenge to find a cure for the disease took my interest.
Since becoming Prime Minister David Cameron has made his position clear, “fighting dementia – and helping those living with the condition – has been a personal priority for me”.
Cameron first launched a national challenge to fight dementia in 2012. It was an unprecedented programme of action to deliver sustained improvements in health and care, create dementia friendly communities, and boost dementia research.
Prime Minister vs Dementia
Dementia is the biggest health care challenge facing the country. There are 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. This will rise to 1 million by 2025. The financial cost of dementia in the UK is £26 billion per annum.
Building on the vital progress made under the 2012 challenge, Cameron launched his second challenge last year, “The Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020”. The 49 page document contains more than 50 commitments that aim to make England the world leader in dementia. Cameron boldly says by 2020 he wants England to be:
- the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live; and
- the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative
Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, last month published the Dementia Implementation Plan. The 80 page document sets out how these commitments will be met by the government and its partners across 4 core themes:
- Risk reduction
- Health and care
- Awareness and social action
For Hunt it is simple, “the global race to find a cure for dementia is on and I want the UK to win it”.
7 day dementia service
The heated debate over the government’s controversial plan for a 7 day NHS service by 2020 continues. Their aim of building a higher-quality NHS for patients over a 7 day week appears to play a major role in Cameron’s challenge and the implementation plan by making sure:
- For the first time, people with dementia and their families will benefit from greater transparency and will be able to compare the quality of dementia care in their local community
- the Care Quality Commission will include standards of dementia care in its inspections to make sure services are safer for people with dementia 7 days a week; and
- Every person with dementia will receive a personalised care plan.
The government believes that dementia patients will reap the benefits of the 7-day service as it will mean that patients won’t stay in the hospital longer than necessary. They propose that:
- all patients in high dependency care will be seen and reviewed by a consultant twice a day, every day of the week by 2020; and
- if clinically appropriate, all patients, including those with dementia, will be reviewed by a consultant ward round once a day, every day of the week by 2020.
Taking on the challenge
Hunt’s Implementation Plan identifies 18 key commitments from the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020. Under the plan, 2 commitments, in particular, stand out for me as a professional.
Commitment 8 is Alzheimer’s Society delivering an additional 3 million Dementia Friends in England and commitment 10 is for all businesses to be encouraged and supported to become dementia friendly. This has made the wills and estate planning department here at Beswicks stand up and listen. We are eager to play our part in the Prime Minister’s Challenge. We already have a session booked for us all to become Dementia Friends and help people living with the disease feel more understood and included. This will no doubt become a topic for one of our blogs in due course….
Are you or your loved one affected by dementia?
It may become more difficult for a person with dementia to make decisions or choices about financial and legal matters as time goes on. There are lots of things you can do to make sure you get to choose how you live now and in the future. Where possible, make these plans as early as you can with someone who will support you as time goes on.