MPs and peers call for new national dementia strategy

All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia says new plan should improve post-diagnosis support

Baroness Sally Greengross, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia

Good dementia support must be available in every area of the country, a report by a group of MPs and peers has said.

In a report published today, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia recommended a series of areas that could be addressed by a new dementia strategy.

It said post-diagnosis support must be a priority but that “this sense of urgency has yet to filter down to clinical commissioning groups and local authority level, and we want to see this happen as soon as possible”.

The group said there had been improvements in the care of people with dementia since the National Dementia Strategy for England was published in 2010 but it was unacceptable that it was still so piecemeal.

The strategy comes to an end in March and the prime minister’s challenge on dementia is due to finish in May 2015, so the group’s report suggested areas that a new strategy could address.

The group said the appointment of dementia leads could ensure the condition is considered when health and wellbeing strategies and commissioning plans are developed. The MPs said they wanted dementia leads to have adequate resources and time to work with their clinical commissioning group, local authority, service providers and voluntary organisations.

It said the Department of Health should include a clear measure of quality of life for people with dementia to include in the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework from 2015/16. The report said the measure would enable commissioners to collect data to see whether services were helping people with dementia to live well and so prevent the need for them to be cared for in hospitals or residential homes.

The MPs said councils and clinical commissioning groups must focus on the quality of services they commission rather than just the price, although the report sympathised with budgetary constraints in health and social care.

They also recommended that the government should set up a commission on workforce development to make recommendations on issues such as dealing with the skills gap in dementia care, as well as the establishment and enforcement of minimum standards for training.

Baroness Sally Greengross, chair of the group, said: “We have seen improvements for people with dementia since the publication of the first national dementia strategy. However, the APPG on Dementia’s work clearly demonstrates the need for government to build on this success and commit to a long-term successor to the national dementia strategy and prime minister’s challenge. Our recommendations suggest some areas that a new strategy should focus on. We hope the government will consider them carefully and take appropriate action.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society said: “It is great to see MPs from all political parties recognising the need for a long term plan for dementia. The spotlight on dementia has never been greater, but we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. Everyday more people are diagnosed with this condition, and they need to feel confident that the current momentum behind dementia won’t fade, and that they’ll get access to vital support and help living with the condition.”

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