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Friday 28th October 2016

Dementia could spell end for NHS

18th June 2008

A group of leading scientists have warned that the predicted rise in dementia over the next 20 years could ultimately lead to the end of the NHS.

Old Hands

In an open letter to Health Secretary Alan Johnson, 11 specialist scientists suggest that the NHS may be “unsustainable? with the forecast rise in people likely to suffer from dementia.

Within two decades, as a result of an ageing population, figures indicate that the burden placed on the UK as a consequence would double to about £35 billion a year.

The group of scientists say at present only 3% of the annual NHS research budget is spent in the area of dementia but they have told Mr Johnson that more money should be spent researching new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in a bid to head off a scenario where the condition could destroy the NHS.

Signatories of the letter included Professor Simon Lovestone, from King’s College London, Professor Nick Fox, from University College London, and Professor John Mayer, from Nottingham University.

They wrote: “As the NHS turns 60, the question isn’t whether it will last a further 60 years, but if it can survive the next 20. The government must greatly increase dementia research now.?

However, the Department of Health said significant funding had already been made in dementia research and that a new National Dementia Strategy would improve early diagnosis, treatment and care.

A spokeswoman said the department was investing £20m over five years from 2006 in a national research network on dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.


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