National dementia strategy ‘delayed by economic downturn’

The economic downturn has delayed the national dementia strategy by making public resources “harder to come by”, one of the project leads said today.

Department of Health adviser Professor Sube Banerjee told a Laing and Buisson conference on the strategy – which had been scheduled to follow its publication – that the strategy had been completed and would be out “shortly”.

The document had been originally expected in October 2008 and there were strong hopes it would be out before Christmas.

Money ‘harder to come by’

But Banerjee, professor of mental health and ageing and King’s College London, said the strategy and coincided with “a big multi-national economic crisis, meaning money is a bit harder to come by”.

Care services minister Phil Hope and his predecessor, Ivan Lewis, have both pledged that the strategy would have resources tied to it.

A consultation paper published last June included a costed proposal to invest £220m a year in establishing early intervention and diagnosis services across England on the basis that this would improve outcomes for users and save money through reduced residential care admissions.

Banerjee stressed the strategy’s vision of earlier and better diagnoses and earlier access to care and support of improved quality would require increased investment, though this would reap dividends over the long-term.

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More information

Department of Health information on national dementia strategy



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