The Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru have announced their backing for Community Care’s Dementia Declaration campaign.
As prime minister Gordon Brown called a 6 May general election today, shadow health secretary Norman Lamb made the Lib Dems the first of the three major parties to support for our bid to make dementia a key issue for polling day.
With the SNP and Plaid joining Democratic Unionist Party in backing the campaign, we now have the support of governing parties in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Green Party has also given its backing, while a petition backing our campaign has received more than 400 signatures.
Nicola Sturgeon, cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing in Scotland, said the SNP government in Scotland had “no hesitation in supporting Community Care’s Dementia Declaration”.
She said the government would produce a dementia strategy for Scotland this month, which would address five key areas: treatment and managing behaviour; diagnosis and patient pathways; improving service response; rights, dignity and personalisation; and health improvement, public attitudes and stigma.
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas signed Community Care’s petition with a message of support, saying: “There are around 700,000 people with dementia in the UK and I agree that improving support for them and their carers should be more of a priority.”
The Dementia Declaration campaign aims to ensure a full debate about the future of dementia care as part of the general election and to ensure it is an explicit priority for the next government when allocating resources.
The latest organisations to sign up are charities the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, Age UK, Counsel and Care, the National Council for Palliative Care and Help the Hospices, as well as the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Its president, Professor Dinesh Bhugra, said: “It is important that all stakeholders are fully aware and involved in preventing and treating people with dementia with adequate resources.”
The Alzheimer’s Research Trust’s chief executive, Rebecca Wood, said: “We strongly support Community Care’s campaign. Dementia is arguably the greatest medical challenge of our time, costing more than cancer and heart disease combined. If we significantly increase our investment in dementia research, we can offer hope to the 820,000 people afflicted by this devastating condition.”
Already signed up are the Alzheimer’s Society, the British Association of Social Workers, Carers UK, Carer Watch, Dementia UK, the English Community Care Association, the Mental Health Foundation, the National Care Forum and the United Kingdom Homecare Association.