Alzheimer Scotland wants extra £15m a year for dementia

Alzheimer Scotland has launched a manifesto calling for £15m a year to fund a shift in dementia services towards personalised and preventive care over the next five years.

The charity launched the report today to influence the Scottish dementia strategy due to be published early next year. It said the Scottish government should use the proposed extra investment to:-  

  • Provide early diagnosis and support for people with the condition, with multi-disciplinary teams set up to provide memory training, emotional and practical support and information.
  • Offer personalised care in the community through personal budgets and the commissioning of specialist services.
  • Improve the quality of care through mandatory training for all health and social care staff and targets to reduce the use of antipsychotic drugs for people with dementia.

Chief executive Henry Simmons said he was concerned about the current national debate over public spending cuts, adding: “Why cut services that work well? We should invest more in these services and shift the funding from services that simple do not work effectively or offer any quality of support.”

Demand set to rocket

The charity said the number of people in Scotland with dementia was expected to increase from 69,500 today to around 127,000 by 2031, but claimed its proposed approach would help Scotland manage the increase.

For instance, the use of personal budgets, coupled with early intervention and support, would help people maintain their support networks in the community, thereby avoiding or delaying crisis situations and entry into more costly residential care.

The manifesto also called for a shift from the block purchasing of generic home and day care services, which it said failed to cater for people with dementia, towards the commissioning of specialist dementia care.

Echoes of English strategy

The proposals echo the UK government’s national dementia strategy for England, published in February, whose 15 objectives include setting up early diagnosis and support services across the country, providing personalised care in the community and improving the workforce.

Kirsty Jardine, awareness manager at Alzheimer Scotland, said its proposed extra funding should reach right down to frontline services and not just be tied up in organisations tasked with implementing change.

The manifesto also called for an increase in funding for dementia research in Scotland. Last year the Scottish government created the Scottish Dementia Research Organisational Network (SCOTDRON) to co-ordinate research on the condition.

However Alzheimer Scotland believes that the research budget does not reflect the number of people whose death is caused by dementia each year.

World Alzheimer’s Day

The launch of the manifesto by Alzheimer Scotland comes on World Alzheimer’s Day which sees a vast array of activities across the world to raise awareness of dementia, ranging from lectures in Scotland to fashion shows in Jamaica and photography competitions in India.

Alzheimer’s Disease International has also published research today calling for dementia to be made a priority by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as numbers of people with the condition are predicted to double every 20 years from 35.6 million in 2010. Much of this increase is attributed to low and middle income economies.

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