New dementia care package announced

New dementia care package announced

The government has announced a new package of support for dementia research and care.

As well as appointing a world dementia envoy, health secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed that the coalition has received backing from a number of businesses which will be used to support people with the condition.

Some 190,000 staff members from firms including Marks and Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy will become "dementia friends".

This will include them being trained to spot the signs of the illness in customers and provide help people who have already been diagnosed.

The NHS is also due to invest £90 million into its diagnosis processes to bring down waiting times.

Mr Hunt 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."

He added that people having to wait up to six months for a diagnosis is "totally unacceptable" and the new funding will go a long way to improving timescales.

The news has been welcomed by the Alzheimer's Society. Jeremy Hughes, the charity's chief executive, said a focus on post-diagnosis support could potentially provide a "vital lifeline" to thousands of people who previously had nowhere to turn for advice.

Liz Kendall, Labour's shadow minister for care and older people, said that while the move is a step in the right direction, much more still needs to be done.

She pointed out that the lives of many dementia patients has already been affected by the government's decision to cut £2.7 billion from council care budgets.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.