This Commons Library note examines policies in England to improve dementia diagnosis, care, support and research. Health is a devolved matter, and the note also briefly outlines dementia strategies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also provides statistics on rates of dementia, including data for each English Parliamentary constituency.Jump to full report >>
There are around 800,000 people with dementia in the UK. This includes 676,000 people with dementia in England.
By 2040, the number of people with the condition is expected to double.
Diagnosis rates for dementia have historically been low, meaning many people have not received appropriate treatment to manage their condition.
The Alzheimer’s Society found that only 48 per cent of people with dementia in England had a diagnosis, 64.8 per cent in Northern Ireland and 43.4 per cent in Wales.
In 2010/11, in England less than half (42 per cent) of those estimated to have dementia were being diagnosed. In February 2015, the Prime Minister Challenge on Dementia 2020 stated that this had risen to 59 per cent. In June 2015 the Secretary of State for Health said that 61.6 of people with dementia in England receive a diagnosis.
In March 2016, the National Clinical Director for Dementia said that the successful achievement of a diagnosis rate of 67% in England has now allowed conversations to move to post diagnostic support and beyond.
Dementia costs the economy in England £23 billion a year, more than the costs of cancer, heart disease or stroke. By 2040, predicted costs are expected to treble.
Recent research also estimated that by 2030, dementia will cost businesses more than £3 billion, due to increases in the numbers of people leaving employment to care for people with dementia.
In February 2015, the Prime Minister published the successor to the 2012 challenge on dementia. The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 focused on boosting research, improving care and raising public awareness about the condition in England.
The Government committed to invest over £300 million into research and medical innovation, in order to back the country’s science and medical sectors to lead the way in discovering the next big breakthrough.
Annual investment in research is expected to double by 2025.
The challenge sets a number of objectives that the Government wishes to see by 2020. These include:
The Government has highlighted the progress made since 2010 on improving dementia care, support and research with:
The Government’s Mandate to the NHS for 2016-17 includes a number of specific objectives on dementia:
Overall 2020 goals: Measurable improvement on all areas of Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020, including:
The Department of Health and NHS have implemented a number of policies to improve diagnosis rates. These include:
In March 2015, the Secretary of State for Health announced a “Dementia Discovery Fund” at the World Health Organization’s First Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia.
The Government has said the Fund will receive investment of £130 million. The fund will finance dementia research and will include investment from the Government, Alzheimer’s Research UK and major pharmaceutical companies.
The Proposal for Scotland's National Dementia Strategy 2016-19 sets out Scottish Government proposals on the major areas of policy and direction on dementia for the next three years, and will form the basis of Scotland's next three-year National Dementia Strategy which will be published later in 2016.
For further information is available from:
Everyone diagnosed with dementia from April 1, 2013 is entitled to a minimum of one year's worth of post-diagnostic support, coordinated by a Link Worker.
Diagnosis of dementia is important as the diagnosis as the gateway to information, support, care and treatment for the person with dementia, their family and the carers. A target to increase the number of people with a diagnosis of dementia was delivered across Scotland.
It was replaced by a new standard to maintain the proportion of people with a diagnosis of dementia on the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) dementia register and other equivalent sources.
The Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland is leading a programme of improvement activity with NHS Boards and others, into the care of older people, including those with dementia at any age, in general hospital care settings.
To complement this, Healthcare Improvement Scotland are undertaking a programme of inspections into these areas of care.
The Scottish Government is supporting Alzheimer Scotland in appointing a dementia specialist nurse in every NHS Board in Scotland, to advise on change and improvement across their Board area.
People with dementia retain the same rights as anyone else in society but the nature of their illness means that they often have great difficulty in protecting their own rights.
There is still stigma and discrimination against people with dementia and they and their carers often feel, with some justification, that they are treated with less respect, dignity and understanding than other members of society.
Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland were developed which relate to everyone with a diagnosis of dementia in Scotland regardless of where they live, their age, the supports they receive or the severity of their illness.
This includes younger people, people with a learning disability and people with rare types of dementia. They apply to people living in their own homes, care homes or hospitals, especially general hospitals.
The Welsh Government has set an ambition to be a “dementia friendly nation” and has committed to providing support to people in Wales with dementia and their families.
Further information is available from:
In April 2015 the Minister for Health and Social Services announced his priorities for dementia in the year ahead and the steps the Welsh Government will take to support each of these.
The new plan for dementia in Wales includes:
Ministers are providing an extra £1m to support the new dementia policies, with £800,000 to fund the new primary care support workers.
This is in addition to:
The Northern Ireland Executive’s Dementia Signature Programme, Dementia Together NI, is operating for four years from 2013 to 2017. It is jointly funded by the Executive and The Atlantic Philanthropies, under the Delivering Social Change Framework, which aims to tackle poverty and exclusion in Norther Ireland.
The Programme is worth £6.25 million, with expenditure in 2016/17 expected to be in the region of £2.8m.
It aims to:
For 2016-17, the programme will resource Dementia Navigators in each of the five Trusts and Dementia Champions throughout Northern Ireland.
The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister provides further information:
The projects will address three key strategic themes:
In addition to these three strands above, the programme will:
On Monday 11 April from 2-3pm, the House of Commons has organised a digital debate on 'Dementia and Alzheimer's disease' with Jim Shannon MP. They are encouraging the public to join in the debate and share their thoughts and experiences. The digital debate will take place on Twitter on the hashtag #AlzDebate.
The Twitter debate is intended to inform Jim Shannon's Westminster Hall debate on Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, on Tuesday 12 April from 09:30-11am.
Commons Briefing papers SN07007
Authors: Elizabeth Parkin; Carl Baker