Social care organisations have given resounding backing to Community Care’s campaign to make dementia care a top election issue, following its launch last week.
Nine leading voices from the field – including voluntary sector, practitioner and provider bodies – have endorsed our Dementia Declaration, which calls for a full debate on dementia care during the election and the need to make improved care an explicit funding priority for the next government.
Other sector leaders joined social care practitioners and other readers in signing our online petition backing the campaign, which now has 78 signatures, including that of Labour MP Roger Berry, the co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on disability.
He said: “I strongly support the Dementia Declaration. As I know from the experiences of my parents and many constituents, those with dementia are not receiving the early diagnosis and support they need. This must be put right as a matter of urgency.”
We also received support from the Conservatives’ shadow leader of the House of Commons, George Young. He warned of “major inconsistencies” between areas in the quality of dementia care and the “massive burden” falling on families, and criticised the government’s national dementia strategy for England, published last year to improve care.
Community Care is now seeking to win the support of health secretary Andy Burnham and his shadows, Andrew Lansley for the Tories and Norman Lamb for the Liberal Democrats.
British Association of Social Workers
Ruth Cartwright, joint manager, England, said: “The lack of ring-fenced funding for dementia care, the way the care for people with dementia is shifted between health and social care as budgets suit, the lack of good training for all staff involved in delivering care, and the failure of the dementia strategy to mention money for research into causes, treatment and the best care are all areas of concern for BASW.”
The English Community Care Association
Chief executive Martin Green said: “Dementia is one of the most significant issues facing both the care sector and society. Finally, the government has acknowledged this and has developed the national dementia strategy. The breadth and depth of this challenge is so enormous that governments cannot do everything alone. I am pleased that Community Care, as one of the leading publications in the sector, is adding its weight and its voice to this important cause.”
The Mental Health Foundation
Head of policy Simon Lawton-Smith said: “Dementia has become a dominant public health issue but the dementia strategy will only be successful if it is driven by political will, local prioritisation and proper funding. Earlier diagnoses would enable people to adjust to their condition and make plans and decisions for their future. And frontline health and social care staff must be suitably trained to fully understand and support people with dementia.”
The National Care Forum
Executive director Des Kelly said: “Congratulations to Community Care for offering leadership to the sector by highlighting the need for continued debate on the challenging issue of how best to meet the needs of people with dementia and their families. It is crucial that reform and future funding of care and support services takes full account of the range of support that may be required to implement the national dementia strategy successfully.”
The United Kingdom Homecare Association
Head of policy and communication Colin Angel said: “This campaign highlights the importance of adequate resources for people with dementia, which is a crucial part of the wider debate on the funding of effective, dignified social care services for the future.”
The Alzheimer’s Society