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Dementia 'to affect 1.7m by 2051'

27th February 2007

The UK is facing a health crisis which could see more than 1.7 million people suffering from dementia by 2051, experts have warned.

Research commissioned for the Alzheimer's Society and carried out by the London School of Economics and King's College London, found that treating dementia costs the country £17 billion every year or £539 per second.

Neil Hunt, the chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "We can't afford to ignore the true cost of dementia to society as a whole. Millions of people will be affected by the devastating consequences of dementia unless we act now."

He called for a strategy - including investment in dementia services and research - to tackle the challenge, which has arisen as a result of the UK's aging population.

Mr Hunt also condemned the government for "failing to support people with dementia and their carers", warning this "will only get worse" as the number of people with dementia soars to a million by 2025.

"Dementia will place an intolerable strain on our health and social care system unless the right services and support are in place," he added.

The Dementia UK report will be launched at a national conference at Savoy Place, London, today, where care services minister Ivan Lewis will speak on the issue of an aging society.