As people around the globe come together to mark World Alzheimer’s Day tomorrow, we should reflect on the challenges we face dealing with all forms of dementia in Hampshire.
More than 750,000 people in the UK have dementia and this number is expected to double in the next 30 years. Sadly, Hampshire is particularly affected, with our local Primary Care Trust recording the highest number of registered dementia suffers in the country.
Experience of dementia in my own family has taught me how devastating an effect this terrible illness can have on patients, their carers and their families.
Many constituents have also come to me with tragic accounts of feeling as if loved ones were slipping away from them in front of their eyes.
Thankfully, treatment and support is available to mitigate the effects of dementia. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has recently stressed the immense benefits of an early diagnosis and issued new guidelines to ensure that Primary Care Trusts are providing the best medication for each individual case.
But with Hampshire’s PCT falling in the lower half of trusts for spending on dementia treatment, it’s vital to keep up the pressure to get sufferers the right support.
I’m now calling on the government to commit to steps to reduce the reliance on anti-psychotic medication for treating people with dementia. Hampshire PCT can also guarantee standards of care by following the latest Nice advice on drug treatment.
Progress is already being made. The government has called on NHS organisations to invest in early diagnosis and intervention, to promote greater wellbeing for sufferers in general hospitals and to enhance dementia care homes.
Now, with dementia featuring heavily in plans for the £800m pledged this year to medical research, we can be confident the government is committed to the best possible care for dementia sufferers.