A united front against dementia

Published 25 October 2010

Forty five organisations from the charity, public and private sectors have come together to form the largest ever united front against dementia.

The Dementia Action Alliance has been set up to bring about radical changes in the way society responds to dementia and to transform quality of life for people living with the condition.

In the first step in a major campaign for change, the Alliance will today launch a National Dementia Declaration. This far-reaching charter spells out exactly what each Alliance member plans to do to improve the quality of life for people with dementia in England. Commitments range from adapting practice to better reflect the needs of people with dementia, increasing dementia-specific training and campaigning for a more prominent place for dementia on the policy and research agendas. With a combined membership of millions, the promises of these organisations have the potential to reach far and wide.

Ruth Sutherland, Interim Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society, said:

'The Dementia Action Alliance provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring about real change for people with dementia. Putting dementia on the map in such a way will not only transform lives but also has the potential to save millions of pounds.

'There are 750,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this costs the country £20bn a year. It is without doubt the health and social crisis of this generation so this joint approach cannot come soon enough. The formation of the Alliance and the signing of the Declaration mark the beginning of a journey, not the end.'

Paul Burstow, Care Services Minister, said:

'Dementia is more than a health issue, it's one of the defining social challenges of our time. We have to prepare ourselves now for the impact this will have on our society as our population ages.

'This Dementia Declaration shows tremendous commitment from across health and care services and the voluntary sector, to transform services and tackle stigma to make a difference for people with dementia and their families.  Willingness to join forces to act should spur more organisations to join this movement for change.'

 Jo Webber, Deputy Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation, said:

'The challenge that health and social organisations face over the coming years is how best to improve the ways we provide services for people with dementia and their carers, while also finding the large efficiency savings required across public services.

'There are many excellent examples of NHS and local authorities making great strides to improve local services and support for people with dementia but ongoing co-ordinated work across health and social care must continue to ensure early intervention and the necessary support improves.'

The National Dementia Declaration will be launched today (Tuesday 26 October 2010) at the Department of Health conference, Improving Dementia Care in London. The Declaration outlines seven outcomes people with dementia and their carers say they would like to see in their lives. This includes having personal choice, having support to help them live their life and living in an enabling and supportive environment.

As part of their pledges, organisations have also committed to ensuring their work is informed by the views of people with dementia and their carers, that they will report publically on their progress and will work in partnership with other organisations to share knowledge about best practice.

 For further information please visit www.dementiaaction.org.uk

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