Thank you for contacting me about dementia care. I have taken note of the points you make and very much appreciate your concerns.
I believe that increasing public awareness and understanding of dementia among the wider public is vital to ensure that people are supported to live well with the condition, and I am encouraged that there are over three million Dementia Friends, a national support network run by the Alzheimer’s Society which helps dementia sufferers to lead lives that are active, creative and meaningful.
Research is crucial to understanding and tackling dementia. In 2017, the Government launched the UK Dementia Research Institute, in partnership with the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK, with £290m funding, the single biggest investment ever made in the UK in this field. Under the Challenge on Dementia 2020 strategy, the Government's commitment to spend over £300m on dementia research between 2015 and 2020 was met a year early, with £341m being spent by March 2019 through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Department of Health and Social Care. The Government is also supporting the £79 million Accelerating Detection of Disease challenge, a project bringing together the NHS, industry and leading charities to support research into the early diagnosis of disease, including dementia.
By the end of 2020, all relevant staff were scheduled to have received appropriate dementia training, including training relevant staff to be able to signpost interested individuals towards research via the Join Dementia Research Service. I understand that good progress has been made towards this goal, and more options are currently being explored to increase take-up of more advanced training among those who need it.
As you will be are aware, last year the Prime Minister announced the Government’s intention to provide the NHS with an additional £33.9 billion by 2023/24; this is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This landmark settlement investment will secure the long term future of our NHS and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to fund our NHS and public services properly. As part of this, there is a commitment to improving detection, with more targeted screening and Rapid Diagnostic Centres, so that in ten years’ time these measures will help 55,000 more people to survive cancer each year, and prevent 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases.
The Government is integrating and improving health and social care to protect people at every stage of their lives. In the Conservative Manifesto, on which I was proud to stand, we set out our aim to build the same level of consensus on social care that we have already built on the NHS, across political parties, so that an answer can be brought forward that solves the problem, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time. I firmly support the renewed commitment in the Queen's Speech to bring forward proposals to reform social care during this Parliament, and eagerly anticipate taking part in a conversation about establishing a care system fit for the 21st century.
I know that the Government remains strongly committed to research to combat dementia, and will shortly lay out plans for supporting people with dementia in England up to 2025. Sadly, I understand that the mobilisation of the health research system against COVID-19 will have an impact on the speed with which the Dementia Moonshot plans can be implemented. However, I will work with my colleagues in the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that the manifesto commitment to double research funding to over £160m each year by 2030 is delivered as swiftly as is possible.
I understand my colleagues in DHSC are considering proposals from the Alzheimer’s Society regarding the establishment of a dementia fund, designed to offer a source of funding to help those who need financial support for the additional costs associated with dementia treatment and care.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me and share your views and concerns.