In 2009 The Department of Health together with the help of the Alzheimer’s Society launched the first ever National Dementia Strategy for England.
The Strategy was put together by the government to explain plans that need to be implemented to fundamentally transform the quality of life of people with dementia, as well as their carers over the next five years.
The Dementia Strategy highlights three key themes:
- Raising awareness and understanding
- Early diagnosis and support
- Living well with dementia
Using these themes as a focus, the government defined seventeen recommendations for the NHS, local authorities and others to take to vastly improve dementia care services. An investment of £150 million was set aside for the government to help local services deliver the goals of the Dementia Strategy.
Three years later in 2012, Prime Minister David Cameron set up a “Challenge on Dementia” to help ensure the delivery of major improvements in the dementia care and research by 2015, focussing on three title action groups - driving improvements in health and care, creating dementia-friendly communities and improving dementia research.
Since then, a second challenge has been designed to place England at the forefront of all other countries for dementia care and research by 2020. This was based on the impressive progress made to date by both the Dementia Strategy and its boost of the PM’s challenge on dementia.
By 2020, the government hopes to be able to build on the current progress with 18 ‘key aspirations’ in the Prime Minister’s 2020 Challenge which focuses specifically on the following areas:
- Prevention through public awareness and understanding
- Building social action through dementia friendly environments
- Improving care quality
- Research through investment and funding
The ongoing Dementia Strategy is a long overdue opportunity to greatly improve the lives of the estimated 850,000 people living with dementia and their 670,000 carers in the UK. It is also expected to ease the heavy draining of the economy on treatments and care which is possible with tighter guidelines, better level of care and earlier diagnoses.