It is hoped that this funding increase will ensure that the UK will become “the world leader for dementia research and care”. With the figure of dementia sufferers set to rise to 1 million within the next decade the cost of health and social care related to the disease is already at £23 billion per year. This figure surpasses the cost of cancer, stroke and heat disease treatment. Mr. Cameron is also expected to lay out plans to ensure that the NHS can deal with the ever increasing numbers.
The Prime minister will say that current understanding and awareness of the disease is “shockingly low” and that the government must tackle in the same way that cancer was tackled in the ’70s and AIDS in the ’80s.
Mr. Cameron will call Dementia, “One of the greatest challenges of our time is what I’d call the quiet crisis, one that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families, but that relative to its impact is hardly acknowledged.
“Dementia is simply a terrible disease. And it is a scandal that we as a country haven’t kept pace with it.”
Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley has also revealed that a new screening programme will be launched in an effort to catch the disease in its early stages. GPs will offer patients routine memory tests, as well as existing tests for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes said the plans were “an unprecedented step towards making the UK a world leader in dementia”. Hughes added, “Doubling funding for research, tackling diagnosis and calling for a radical shift in the way we talk, think and act on dementia will help to transform lives.”
Kirsty Jardine, Awareness Manager for Alzheimer’s Scotland spoke to us about the implications of Cameron’s announcement in Scotland. Click below to listen to the full interview.
Scotland Dementia Stats
- In Scotland around 7 thousand people are a diagnosed with dementia every year.
- Dementia is most common in older people, but can affect people in their 40s or 50s or even younger. Approximately 2,500 people with dementia are under the age of 65.
- Scotland’s population is aging, which will have a significant impact on the number of people with dementia.