Fighting for justice

From the August / September 2017 issue of our magazine, Alzheimer's Society's Rob Burley explains why the dementia tax was the story of the election.

Rob Burley

Dementia became a prominent feature of the general election campaign, providing a focus for public debate about how our care is paid for and by whom.

'Regardless of the condition you have, you should have the same access to high quality and affordable care, and this includes people with dementia.'

We first used the term 'dementia tax' in 2008 to refer to the enormous injustice that exists in the care system in England. People with dementia are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on care, unlike those with other conditions who receive most of their care for free on the NHS. A large proportion of dementia care is social care – such as help with washing, dressing and eating – and this is means-tested.

This system is unequal and needs an overhaul. Regardless of the condition you have, you should have the same access to high quality and affordable care, and this includes people with dementia.

For a long time, successive governments have brushed this issue under the carpet. We have finally increased public awareness of the dementia tax and of how the current system is broken. Tens of thousands of people have signed the petition that we launched immediately after the election, calling on the government to address this injustice.

In an uncertain political landscape, we will be working hard with you to ensure that dementia remains at the top of the agenda, and that we see meaningful change. As the government consults on reform, we will put forward solutions for a new system that is fair and works for all people affected by dementia.

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