crest Department of Health

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Government policy on dementia

The Department of Health wants every person with dementia, and their carers and families, – from all backgrounds, walks of life and in all parts of the country – to receive high quality, compassionate care from diagnosis through to end of life care. This applies to all care settings, whether home, hospital or care home.

People with dementia have told us what is important to them. They want a society where they are able to say:

  • I have personal choice and control over the decisions that affect me.
  • I know that services are designed around me, my needs and my carer’s needs.
  • I have support that helps me live my life.
  • I have the knowledge to get what I need.
  • I live in an enabling and supportive environment where I feel valued and understood.
  • I have a sense of belonging and of being a valued part of family, community and civic life.
  • I am confident my end of life wishes will be respected. I can expect a good death.
  • I know that there is research going on which will deliver a better life for people with dementia, and I know how I can contribute to it.

The Department of Health wants:

  • the best services and innovation currently delivered in some parts of the country to be delivered everywhere
  • a society where kindness, care and dignity take precedence over structures or systems
  • the wellbeing and quality of life of people with dementia and their family/carers to be uppermost in the minds of those commissioning and providing services
  • greater recognition that everyone with dementia is an individual with specific needs
  • people with dementia and their carers to be fully involved in decisions, not only about their own care, but also in the commissioning and development of services

This vision is set out in the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020. This is an aspirational document, which builds on the achievements of the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2012-2015, and aims to identify what needs to be done to make sure that dementia care, support, awareness and research are transformed by 2020. It also outlines the progress that has been made so far on the main elements of the original 3-year dementia challenge – health and care, dementia friendly communities and research.

The main aspirations set out in the 2020 challenge include:

  • dementia research funding from all sectors to be double current (2015) levels by 2025
  • people with dementia to have equal access to diagnosis in every part of the country
  • national average wait for an initial assessment for dementia to be reduced to 6 weeks
  • every person diagnosed with dementia to have meaningful care following their diagnosis, which supports them and those around them
  • all NHS staff to have received training on dementia appropriate to their role, and an expectation that social care providers provide appropriate training to all relevant staff
  • cures or disease modifying therapies to be on track to exist by 2025

The 2020 challenge document doesn’t mandate actions, or make spending commitments. What happens in the 5 years to 2020 will be determined by the next government in the context of the Spending Review.

Read more about the government’s policy on Improving care for people with dementia on GOV.UK.


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