Friday, February 06, 2009

Government must do more to tackle alzheimer’s ticking time bomb

A North East MEP has welcomed the launch of a new UK dementia plan aimed at improving diagnosis and treatment, at the moment when the European Parliament also agreed that more action should be taken at a European level towards improving the quality of life for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

There will be a debate in the European Parliament on the provision of Alzheimer’s care, after the Written Declaration on the ‘priorities in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease’, was signed by over half of all MEPs – including Lib Dem Fiona Hall.

And Fiona, who called back in December for the UK to put in place a national approach on tackling dementia, says that the new National Dementia Strategy, which aims to save £1bn in the next ten years through improved diagnosis and treatment, is a first step towards alleviating the pressure on Britain’s health service – with direct medical costs to the NHS alone approximately £ a year.

“At last the Government have realised that with an ageing population like the UK’s, Alzheimer’s really could be the ticking time bomb of our generation should nothing be done to counter the disease,” said Fiona.

But Fiona has real concerns that the amount of money being put into the strategy (£150m for the first two years) may hardly dent Britain’s current £17bn a year dementia burden.

“No increase in research funding means we will remain no closer to understanding dementia or addressing the devastating impact that it has on the thousands of people and their families.

“There are a lot of recommendations in this strategy and they will soon carve up the £150m budget. It is an ambitious project, which is important, but it would be good to know that the Government is thinking long term and will remain committed and invest more money to make sure that promises are delivered, well into the future.”

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