The Liberal Democrats have pledged to make dementia the priority area for medical research in their general election manifesto, launched by leader Nick Clegg today.
The pledge follows Community Care’s call for a full election debate on dementia during the election campaign and for the next government to make improved care for those with the condition a financial priority, through our Dementia Declaration campaign.
The Lib Dems were the first of the three major parties to sign up to the declaration and its promise today responds to widespread concerns that dementia research spending is far too low.
Though it did not mention research, Labour pledged to introduce greater access to psychological therapies, counselling and memory clinics for dementia patients as part of its manifesto. The Tories did not mention the condition in its manifesto, published yesterday.
The Lib Dems also pledged to advance greater integration of health and social care in order to cut bureaucracy and allow people to stay in their own homes.
This would involve establishing elected local health boards to replace primary care trusts and creating a duty for boards and councils to pool budgets and jointly commission services.
Mental health patients would receive greater access to counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy as part of the Lib Dems’ plans, while hate crime against disabled people would also be recorded centrally, allowing for greater analysis of the problem.
The manifesto also restated the party’s commitment to deliver a week’s break a year to all informal carers putting in over 50 hours a week, which would be paid for by scrapping Labour’s £540m-a-year plan care to fund care at home for people with high needs.
On children’s services, the Liberal Democrats appear to have joined the Conservatives in backing the publication of anonymised serious case reviews in full. The manifesto said: “We will enforce the publication of an anonymised version of serious case reviews to ensure that lessons are learned.”
Other commitments include ending the detention of children for immigration purposes, ending child poverty by 2020 and reducing child maltreatment by 70% over the next 20 years. The party has also backed moves by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to establish quick-report buttons on all social networking sites.
Clegg was keen to emphasise the economic viability of the manifesto saying: “This isn’t a promise, it’s a plan.”
Costings for many of the plans were included within the document however it was not explicit about how much would be set aside for dementia research.
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