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Top priority for dementia

28th January 2009

A senior government health advisor has called for dementia to be give “top priority”.

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The government's main adviser on its dementia strategy for England Professor Sube Banerjee said the condition must not be regarded "as an inevitable part of growing old".

The strategy, originally expected to be published last October, is expected to be release in the near future with a key focus being moves to try to cut admissions to care homes.

Professor Banerjee said dementia services varied across the county but overall the level of provision was small with the amount of prescribing of drugs to treat dementia comparable to levels in Poland and the Slovak Republic.

Speaking at a London seminar, he said while there was a long list of NICE guideless in dementia, little of it was being carried out because the messages have not been understandable to those commissioning the services, or to the professionals.

"The current system allows anybody to make a diagnosis of dementia - so in fact nobody ends up doing it," he said.

He said while £7bn was spent annual on people with dementia in care homes, many people did not want to go into a home. Decreasing admissions and improving the quality of life for people with dementia would be a cost-effective step, he said.

Care services minister Phil Hope said: "I share the frustration with the delays in publishing the strategy. But we cannot afford to get this wrong."

However, Bupa said a dedicated service for people with dementia was needed.

 

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