Ivan Lewis has said the government’s first national strategy on dementia will bring the disease “out of the shadows” in England and allow service users to get help at the earliest possible stage.
The care services minister announced today the government would deliver the strategy next summer, saying the current system was failing too many people with dementia and their carers.
The promise has been welcomed by campaigners who have called for dementia to be made a national priority to tackle inadequacies in current services.
It is believed there are around 600,000 people with dementia in England – a figure which is expected to double in the next 30 years.
Lewis said the strategy would focus on improving public awareness, early diagnosis and treatment of the disease and said that, despite an estimated annual investment of £3.3bn, improvements still needed to be made.
Currently only a third of people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis at any time in their illness and when diagnoses are made it is often too late for them to make choices about their condition.
The strategy will be led by Professor Sube Banerjee, professor of mental health and ageing at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, and Jenny Owen, co-chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services older people’s committee.
They will work with a stakeholder group including representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society, Age Concern and Help the Aged.