The Scottish government issued plans to transform dementia care today in the country’s first strategy for the condition – but it has not pledged any new money to meet its ambitions.
The three-year strategy includes plans to set basic standards of dementia care, which providers will be assessed on, by 2011, and a new skills framework to ensure all staff are appropriately trained.
It is intended to respond to the expected doubling in the number of people with dementia in Scotland over the next 25 years, from 71,000 now.
The Scottish government also said that the £1.7bn it now spends on dementia was too focused on acute health and long-term care services, reflecting a lack of post-diagnosis support for users and carers.
The strategy aims to reshape services so that people have their needs met, where possible, by community services. Although it said such a shift could save money, it admitted there was no guarantee of this, while there is also no new money for the strategy.
This prompted concerns from Alzheimer Scotland, whose chief executive Henry Simmons said in a foreword to the strategy: “While we appreciate the pressure the economic climate places on national and local government, we remain convinced that progress towards world-class dementia services would have been greatly accelerated by new money to help services to make changes.”
Other plans outlined in the strategy include action to reduce the use of antipsychotic medication for dementia sufferers.
- During the general election campaign, Community Care called for a full debate on dementia and for the new UK government to make improved dementia care a financial priority. Our Dementia Declaration campaign received all-party support and achieved a victory when the new government pledged to prioritise funding for dementia research.