The Prime Minister recently launched the government’s five year vision for the future of dementia care, support and research, which follows on from the existing Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, launched in March 2012.
The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 celebrates achievements to date and includes strong ambitions to boost dementia research, train more health and care staff, follow up timely diagnosis with greater access to help, advice and support for people with dementia and their carers, increase public awareness and create more dementia friendly public and private organisations and communities.
The overall ambition set by the vision is by 2020 for England to be:
- The best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live; and
- The best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The government’s key aspirations are that by 2020 there should be:
- Improved public awareness and understanding of the factors, which increase the risk of developing dementia and how people can reduce their risk by living more healthily. This should include a new healthy ageing campaign and access to tools such as a personalised risk assessment calculator as part of the NHS Health Check.
- In every part of the country people with dementia having equal access to diagnosis as for other conditions, with an expectation that the national average for an initial assessment should be 6 weeks following a referral from a GP (where clinically appropriate), and that no one should be waiting several months for an initial assessment of dementia.
- GPs playing a leading role in ensuring coordination and continuity of care for people with dementia, as part of the existing commitment that from 1 April 2015 everyone will have access to a named GP with overall responsibility and oversight for their care.
- Every person diagnosed with dementia having meaningful care following their diagnosis, which supports them and those around them, with meaningful care being in accordance with published National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Quality Standards. Effective metrics across the health and care system, including feedback from people with dementia and carers, will enable progress against the standards to be tracked and for information to made publicly available. This care may include for example:
- receiving information on what post-diagnosis services are available locally and how these can be accessed, through for example an annual ‘information prescription’.
- access to relevant advice and support to help and advise on what happens after a diagnosis and the support available through the journey.
- carers of people with dementia being made aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.
- All NHS staff having received training on dementia appropriate to their role. Newly appointed healthcare assistants and social care support workers, including those providing care and support to people with dementia and their carers, having undergone training as part of the national implementation of the Care Certificate, with the Care Quality Commission asking for evidence of compliance with the Care Certificate as part of their inspection regime. An expectation that social care providers provide appropriate training to all other relevant staff.
- All hospitals and care homes meeting agreed criteria to becoming a dementia friendly health and care setting.
- Alzheimer’s Society delivering an additional 3 million Dementia Friends in England, with England leading the way in turning Dementia Friends in to a global movement including sharing its learning across the world and learning from others.
- Over half of people living in areas that have been recognised as Dementia Friendly Communities, according to the guidance developed by Alzheimer’s Society working with the British Standards Institute2. Each area should be working towards the highest level of achievement under these standards, with a clear national recognition process to reward their progress when they achieve this. The recognition process will be supported by a solid national evidence base promoting the benefits of becoming dementia friendly.
- All businesses encouraged and supported to become dementia friendly, with all industry sectors developing Dementia Friendly Charters and working with business leaders to make individual commitments (especially but not exclusively FTSE 500 companies). All employers with formal induction programmes invited to include dementia awareness training within these programmes.
- National and local government taking a leadership role with all government departments and public sector organisations becoming dementia friendly and all tiers of local government being part of a local Dementia Action Alliance.
- Dementia research as a career opportunity of choice with the UK being the best place for Dementia Research through a partnership between patients, researchers, funders and society.
- Funding for dementia research on track to be doubled by 2025.
- An international dementia institute established in England.
- Increased investment in dementia research from the pharmaceutical, biotech devices and diagnostics sectors, including from small and medium enterprises (SMEs), supported by new partnerships between universities, research charities, the NHS and the private sector. This would bring word class facilities, infrastructure, drive capacity building and speed up discovery and implementation.
- Cures or disease modifying therapies on track to exist by 2025, their development accelerated by an international framework for dementia research, enabling closer collaboration and cooperation between researchers on the use of research resources – including cohorts and databases around the world.
- More research made readily available to inform effective service models and the development of an effective pathway to enable interventions to be implemented across the health and care sectors.
- Open access to all public funded research publications, with other research funders being encouraged to do the same.
- Increased numbers of people with dementia participating in research, with 25 per cent of people diagnosed with dementia registered on Join Dementia Research and 10 per cent participating in research, up from the current baseline of 4.5 per cent.