Monday, 19 August 2013

Dear Jeremy Hunt, Focus on People with Dementia not just the Cost

Today the Government announced a G8 Summit on Dementia.

While every effort to raise awareness of dementia has to be welcome, the tone of the press release announcing the event shows that the Government is more interested in cutting the cost of dementia rather than helping those who suffer from the condition.

The press release quotes Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saying,

Dementia requires long-term health and social care support that can be hugely expensive. Currently 70 per cent of the global cost is incurred in medically advanced nations like Western Europe and North America. But nearly 60 per cent of people with the condition live in developing countries. As their populations grow and age, the pressure on their services and budgets will inevitably increase.” &

“The G8 today have a unique chance to come together to help people manage dementia better, lead healthier lives and deliver real improvements in care and substantial economic savings.

Yes the increase of the numbers of people with dementia will put pressure on budgets but, surely, the primary focus has to be how to give people with the condition the best possible quality of life as the disease takes hold.

Yes we need to find ways to eradicate dementia but we also need to help people NOW rather than solely focus on cures that could be many decades down the line.

Yes there are still economic troubles yet to focus on the cost of dementia rather than improving care and support for those who need it now is a shameful way for a Government to act. Social care funding has decreased year on year for at least the last five years and the costs of providing social care have spiked – food and energy inflation have a huge impact on care provision – and the Government has done little to redress this issue.

The press release today effectively labels those with dementia as a cost burden to the State and I hope action will be taken immediately to apologise and redress this.