In March 2012 the PM launched a national challenge to fight dementia – an unprecedented programme of action to deliver sustained improvements in health and care, create dementia friendly communities, and boost dementia research.
At a Global Dementia Legacy event in June 2014, the Prime Minister announced a pledge to double government funding for dementia research by 2025 as part of efforts to reach the G8 target of finding a cure or modifying treatment for the disease within ten years. While studies continue apace in the search for a medical solution, the number of people living with dementia, diagnosed or undiagnosed, is growing.
Three years on from the commencement of the challenge and there has been significant progress – with more people now receiving a diagnosis of dementia than ever before, over 1 million people trained to be dementia friends to raise awareness in local communities, and over 400,000 of our NHS staff and over 100,000 social care staff trained in better supporting people with dementia. Our efforts on research have been world leading, with major research and infrastructure programmes now in place, supported by a doubling of research spending on dementia. We now spend well over £60 million on dementia research each year.
In spite of these advances the Alzheimer’s Society study, Dementia UK: Second Edition, shows that at least 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK currently, at a total cost to the economy of more than £26 billion. Clearly this is a problem that is too big to be ignored, and it is imperative that we develop a better understanding of the causes of dementia, work towards a cure, combat the risk factors, and improve standards of care for those already living with this challenging disease.
The new conservative government recognise the necessity to have a continued focus on this challenge and have set clear ambitions for the next 5 years for the UK, through the Dementia 2020 strategy published on 21st February 2015 and through supporting the delivery of NHS England’s 5 year forward plan.
David Cameron and the Conservative government has a vision that by 2020 England will be:
The best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live.
The best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
This conference will examine progress to date, and dissect the aspirations contained within the Dementia 2020 strategy.
Govconnects Dementia 2020 series of conferences will develop a community of conference delegates online users and wider stakeholders who will seek to ensure that the vision to create a society by 2020 where every person with dementia in every area of the country receives high quality compassionate care from diagnosis through to end of life care.
Through collaboration and connections we will ensure the best services and innovation currently delivered in some parts of the country are delivered everywhere so there is more consistency of access, care and standards and less variation. A society where kindness, care and dignity take precedence over structures or systems.