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Government accused of failing to improve dementia services

17th March 2010

A Commons committee report into how the government has dealt with improving dementia services in England has found that it has failed to make the condition a national priority.

Chairman of the committee Edward Leigh condemned the “wide gulf” between what the department had said it would do and what has actually been achieved.

He added: “This committee feels badly let down by the department’s failure to act on the commitments it gave to us in 2007”.

MPs reported that despite a five-year national strategy by the Department of Health to tackle dementia care, they lacked the right tools to “make change happen”.

Dementia costs £8.2 billion a year in direct health and social care costs but much of this spend is in response to complications in the later stages of the disease, today’s report said.

The committee said that improvements it identified in 2007 as urgently needed have still not been made a priority, as it had been led to expect.

Mr Leigh added: “Implementation of the national strategy must be pursued with urgency and commitment.”

Andrew Chidgey, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer’s Society, stated that improvements to dementia care should be considered even more essential due to an expected rise in the number of those affected by the condition in the coming decade.

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