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National Dementia Strategy

Older woman smiling

Dementia is one of the most important issues we face as the population ages. There are estimated to be over 750, 000 people in the UK with dementia and numbers are expected to double in the next thirty years. The term ‘dementia’ is used to describe a syndrome which may be caused by a number of illnesses in which there is progressive decline in multiple areas of function. Although dementia is primarily a condition associated with older people, there are also a significant number of people (currently around 15,000) who develop dementia earlier in life. Direct costs of dementia to the NHS and Social Care are in the region of £8.2bn annually.

‘Living well with dementia - a National Dementia Strategy’ was published in February 2009. It set out a vision for transforming dementia services with the aim of achieving better awareness of dementia, early diagnosis and high quality treatment at whatever stage of the illness and in whatever setting.

The Strategy was followed in November 2009 by the publication of a report addressing the over-prescription of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia. Implementation of the 11 recommendations contained within that report is an integral part of improving the care and experience of people with dementia and their carers.

Raising the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers is a major priority under the new Coalition Government. It is necessary to respond to the challenge in the context of a changed political and economic landscape, where the Department’s role is more enabling and less directive.

In line with this, the Government is committed to ensuring there is a greater focus on accelerating the pace of improvement in dementia care, through local delivery of quality outcomes and local accountability for achieving them. This is a new outcomes-focused approach, a key element of which is ensuring greater transparency and provision of information to individuals. This enables people to have  a good understanding of their local services, how these compare to other services, and the level of quality that they can expect.

The new approach is set out in the document 'Quality outcomes for people with dementia: Building on the work of the National Dementia Strategy'.

Additional links

Dementia Information Portal (opens new window)

This website follows the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy. It offers information and support to members of the National Dementia Strategy Implementation Reference Group and anyone with an interest in improving services for people with dementia.

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