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Dementia care government “priority”

13 July 2007

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Government Minister Ivan Lewis has announced that he is committed to giving dementia care the priority it deserves.

Speaking at the National Audit Office (NAO) conference yesterday, MP Ivan Lewis said that so far the “scale of ambition has not matched the scale of the challenge” in dementia care.

Mr Lewis reiterated the NAO findings released earlier this month that early dementia diagnosis is crucial.

As children have the right to fulfil their potential, so do the elderly, he said, and early diagnosis will make this possible.

According to the NAO, only half of all dementia cases are currently diagnosed early.

MP Ivan Lewis added that a “truly integrated approach” is needed and the walls between the NHS, voluntary sector and the private sector broken down.

He hopes this will result in less money being spent at the acute end but more at the earlier community intervention stage.

“Dementia is one of our biggest new challenges and professionals at the frontline have the power to change people’s experiences,” he says, adding that the NAO report will signal a significant shift in the way dementia is treated in society.