It is easy to knock the Government and I wonder sometimes if any of us really understand the complex and demanding nature of modern governance?
Today I want to commend the Governments excellent initiatives around Dementia. Let me remind you about the plans. The ambition is to set up memory clinics in every town in England.
The clinics will be set up in every English town and doctors will get extra training to recognise early signs, the health secretary is expected to say.The government’s five-year dementia strategy for England is in response to rising numbers of dementia sufferers. The condition affects some 700,000 people in the UK – a figure that looks set to double in the next 30 years.
It is predicted that by the next generation dementia could cost the economy £50bn a year.Although there is no cure for the condition, early intervention can help people live independently for longer.Campaigners welcomed the plans but warned the strategy’s success would depend on adequate funding. It is not yet clear how much the measures would cost, but ministers are confident that the project will be funded, and say the new clinics will ultimately save the NHS money.
Care Services Minister Phil Hope said early diagnosis was key to improving the live of people with dementia, and their families.He said: “It takes on average three years after the disease begins for people to be diagnosed, partly because of the stigma and also a lot of GPs are not trained to spot the early ns.”If you get early diagnosis and early intervention it improves the patient’s quality of life, so we are talking about a major roll out of memory clinics. There will be a memory clinic in every town.”
He said the clinics would be “one-stop shops”, offering expert assessment, support, information and advice to those with memory problems and their carers.The clinics could be housed in hospitals, GP surgeries or in the high street, and patients could refer themselves, he added.
As well as improving diagnosis, the clinics will aim to raise the profile of dementia and improve the quality of treatment.Every hospital and care home should have a senior clinician with special responsibility for dementia care to ensure that the needs of people with dementia are addressed, the strategy will say.
In 2007 about 70% of GPs in England had access to a local memory service to which they could refer patients.Within a generation, dementia will affect 1.5 million people in the UK, costing our economy £50 billion each year; yet dementia research still receives eight times less government support than cancer research.
We need a commitment to a major increase in research funding if we are to defeat dementia once and for all.
This is an excellent start and we should support it.