General Election 2024: Make Dementia a Priority

At this General Election candidates from all political parties must acknowledge that dementia is the UK’s biggest killer, and the greatest health and social care challenge we face.  

Through eleven General Elections, Alzheimer’s Society has campaigned tirelessly for dementia to be a priority with our national decision makers. From Thatcher to Blair, Brown to Sunak, years have rolled by, but we’re still waiting. 

Three people walking together

Why the next Government must Make Dementia a Priority

A third of people living with dementia in England and Northern Ireland and half of people living with dementia in Wales do not have a diagnosis. This means they can’t access the vital care and support they deserve and will not be able to receive new treatments for which they may be eligible, if approved.

The dementia diagnosis rate targets across the UK are not ambitious enough. For no other condition would it be acceptable for so many people to be in the dark about their diagnosis.  

While the potential of new disease modifying treatments (DMTs) represent a defining moment for Alzheimer’s disease, the NHS is not ready to deliver breakthrough treatments if they become available.

Dementia diagnosis is not widely enough available, nor is it happening sufficiently early or accurately. Healthcare system preparedness is key, which requires investment in diagnostic equipment and specialised workforce.  

Whilst there is hope for the future with treatments in the pipeline, we must also appreciate hundreds of thousands of people living with dementia are reliant on the social care system now and may never be eligible for these new drugs. 

It is vital we have a social care system set up to provide quality, personalised care, delivered by a well-trained and supported workforce. 

The next Government must: 

Increase dementia diagnosis rates and accelerating system readiness for disease modifying treatments (DMTs) 

  • New, ambitious dementia diagnosis rate targets should be set for England, Wales and Northern Ireland accompanied by funded plans to deliver early, accurate diagnosis at scale. Plans must be published by healthcare systems across the UK on how disease-modifying treatments will be delivered, including through investment in the diagnostic workforce and infrastructure. 

Deliver a social care workforce strategy 

  • We need a long-term social care workforce strategy so that we have enough well-trained and supported staff to provide high quality, personalised dementia care to everyone who needs it.
  • The strategy must include a requirement for evidence-based dementia training for all staff supporting people living with dementia to Tier 2 of the Dementia Training Standards Framework or equivalent. 

Decisions relating to health (including how to roll out any future treatments) and social care are devolved. If you would like to know more about what we are doing in Wales and Northern Ireland, please contact [email protected].

Sign our pledge

A third of people living with dementia in England and Northern Ireland and half of those living with dementia in Wales do not have a diagnosis, meaning they can't access vital support or treatment. Sign our pledge calling for dementia to be made a priority by the next UK Government. 

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