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Dementia: policy, services and statistics overview

Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018

This briefing 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.

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There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. By 2040, the number of people with the condition is expected to double.[1]

The Government has set an objective for England to be a world leader in fighting dementia and has committed to improving diagnosis, care and support, and research.

The Prime Minister’s “Challenge on Dementia 2020”, published in February 2015, sets out what the Government wants to see in place by 2020 in order for 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
        • the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases

Some of the key objectives of the Challenge are:

        • Equal access to diagnosis for everyone
        • GPs playing a lead role in ensuring coordination and continuity of care for people with dementia
        • Every person diagnosed with dementia having meaningful care following their diagnosis
        • All NHS staff having received training on dementia appropriate to their role.

In May 2018, the Government said it is currently reviewing the Challenge on Dementia implementation plan which will reflect on what has been achieved so far and what more needs to be done to meet its objectives.

NHS England have agreed a national ambition for diagnosis rates that two-thirds of people with dementia have a diagnosis. This was initially achieved in November 2015 and has been maintained since. It is included as a continuing objective in the Government’s Mandate to the NHS 2018-19.

In March 2015, the Secretary of State for Health announced a $100 million “Dementia Discovery Fund” at the World Health Organization’s First Ministerial Conference on Global Action Against Dementia. The aim of the fund is to finance dementia research, and will include investment from the Government, Alzheimer’s Research UK and major pharmaceutical companies.[2]

The Government will also invest over £300 million into research and medical innovation, 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.[3]

This note focuses on policies in England. Health is a devolved matter, and so each of the devolved administrations are responsible for setting their own policies in this area. The note briefly outlines dementia strategies implemented by the Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in section 6.

The note also provides statistics on rates and expected rises of dementia prevalence, including prevalence rates for each English Parliamentary constituency.


[1]     Department of Health, 2010 to 2015 government policy: dementia, 8 May 2015

[2], Health secretary announces $100m Dementia Discovery Fund, 17 March 2015

[3], PM launches next phase of Britain’s fight against dementia, 21 February 2015

Commons Briefing papers SN07007

Authors: Elizabeth Parkin; Carl Baker

Topics: Diseases, Health finance, Health services, Health staff and professions, Mental health

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