A group of experts have this week begun their work to transform and improve health and social care for people with dementia.
Health and care leaders who are members of the government organised Dementia Health and Care Champion Group for have met for the first time.
Their aim is to drive improvements in dementia services and deliver on key ambitions set out in the Prime Minister’s dementia challenge announced in March.
Representatives from the health sector, social care, local government and charities are on the champion group met in London.
The group has decided that in addition to the specific actions set out in the Prime Minister’s challenge, it will also look at how to:
- improve end of life care for people with dementia
- reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia
- improve housing and social care accommodation – supporting solutions to support people with dementia to continue to live at home
- promote partnership working between primary and secondary health services and local government.
There are around 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and that number is predicted to rise to more than 1million by 2021 and 1.7million by 2050.
One in three people will develop the disease and more than 60% of all care home residents, aged over 65, have a form of dementia.
It is estimated that the disease will cost the UK more than £23 billion in 2012, and this figure will rise to £27 billion a year by 2018.
In March, David Cameron unveiled the dementia challenge for England, saying he wanted to make the UK a world leader on dementia and that the programme would deliver major improvements in dementia care, dementia awareness and dementia research by 2015.
Under the programme, three champion groups have been established to lead the work on each strand.
Actions set out for improving dementia care include increasing diagnosis, rewarding best practice, and ensuring memory services are set up across the country and accredited to give people with dementia access to high quality services.
The Dementia Health and Care Champion Group is co-chaired by Sir Ian Carruthers, chief executive of NHS South of England and Sarah Pickup, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS).
Care services minister Paul Burstow said: “We are determined to go further and faster in bringing real improvements to the care and support people with dementia and their carers receive in all settings.
“Early diagnosis is key as it allows people to plan for their future, preventing the need for crisis intervention, premature admission to hospital care, and this delivers better outcomes for people with dementia, enabling them to live well.
“But we must also ensure that, once they receive a diagnosis, people have access to the right information and high quality services wherever they live.”
Sir Ian Carruthers said: “It is important that the pace of improvement is accelerated and progress made towards delivering top quality services for all who require care.”
The three champion groups will report on progress in September.