Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a number of ambitions in the bid to fight dementia, including more funding for research, faster diagnosis and more help from businesses to support sufferers.
Labour has warned that a key area to tackle initially is the poor care standards for those with the condition. The NHS is set to invest £90 million to help diagnose two-thirds of dementia sufferers by March 2015.
A number of leading businesses in the UK (including Marks & Spencer, Homebase and Argos) have already signed up to the cause. Over 190,000 members of staff will be trained to spot early signs of dementia and will offer support by becoming ‘dementia friends’.
Mr Hunt has said: “Dementia can be a horrific and heartbreaking disease, but it is my mission as Health Secretary to make this country the best place in the world to get a dementia diagnosis, as well as a global leader in the fight to find a cure.
“Today’s package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front – from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our high streets to the quest for a cure.”
The NHS say they will target areas where it can take up to 25 weeks to diagnose the condition. It is estimated that around 800,000 people in the UK have dementia, and one-in-three people over the age of 65 will develop the condition.
Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society has commented to say that the waiting times for diagnosis are unacceptable. He went on to say that the announcement from Jeremy Hunt is a positive step forward to changing this.
The Prime Minister David Cameron has now appointed a World Dementia Envoy (Dr Dennis Gillings) after an agreement was made between the G8 countries last December, giving the campaign an additional boost.