Govt dementia strategy a 'huge let down'

Govt dementia strategy a 'huge let down'
Govt dementia strategy a 'huge let down'


The government's National Dementia Strategy for England has been described as a "huge let down" by the country's leading dementia research charity.

Rebecca Wood, the chief executive of Alzheimer's Research Trust, said the strategy was disappointing due to what had been left out rather than what was included.

The scheme was also criticised for its lack of review on antipsychotic drugs, which has been delayed till later in the year, and the minimal inclusion of dementia research.

"It is astonishing that dementia research is not a fundamental component of this strategy, and disappointing that the review of antipsychotic drugs has been delayed yet again," Ms Wood said.

"It is not clear if sufficient funds will be made available to fulfil what is included in the strategy."

She went on to criticise the amount of funding dementia research received each year, claiming the condition costs the UK economy £17 billion a year - more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined - but receives eight times less government support for research than cancer.

"This economic burden will triple within thirty years," Ms Wood warned, adding: "If we do not commit to investing a lot more in research, the care costs could cripple our health service within a generation."

The Liberal Democrats also criticised the announcement, saying that without further funding it was meaningless.

The party's spokesperson for older people, Greg Mulholland, said: "This long overdue strategy is a fundamentally missed opportunity.

"No increase in research funding means we will remain no closer to understanding dementia or addressing the devastating impact that it has on the thousands of people and their families."

The Conservatives were similarly unimpressed.

Shadow health minister Stephen O'Brien said: "This is too little too late from a government which has dithered over taking action on dementia for eleven years.

"Unfortunately Labour's approach is still too piecemeal and their strategy fails to address key issues such as the continuing scandal of patients being inappropriately prescribed 'chemical cosh' drugs and the need to ensure that funding for Alzheimer's research is given greater priority in the NHS research budget."


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