The Prime Minister has announced the next steps for his ‘Dementia Challenge’, a pledge announced in March this year to deliver major improvements in dementia care and research by 2015.

As previously reported, the Dementia Challenge picks up on various aspects of the Council’s 2009 report Dementia: ethical issues. The new measures, announced yesterday, include:
  • a £50 million fund for the creation of dementia friendly wards and care home spaces

  • extra support for GPs and surgeries so that they are better equipped to diagnose dementia and help those affected to manage the condition

  • £9.6 million to increase the capacity of the UK Biobank for research into why some people develop dementia and others do not

These proposals are in line with the Council’s recommendations regarding dementia-friendly environments and the need for more training, support and research.

The Prime Minister also announced a scheme which aims to recruit 1 million volunteers to become ‘Dementia Friends’ across the UK by 2015. These volunteers will be trained in how to spot the signs of dementia and provide support to people with the condition in their communities.

The Council particularly welcomes the ‘Dementia Friends’ scheme. Our report concluded that as a society we have an ethical obligation to become more inclusive of people with dementia, and highlighted the need for everyday services to adapt to the needs of those living with the condition. It set out an ethical framework which emphasised the importance of solidarity, recognising those affected as fellow citizens and enabling them to participate in everyday life as much as possible. It further suggested that people with dementia are not only able and morally entitled to participate in the activities of wider society: they may also be able to and wish to make an active contribution to those activities, such as taking an active role in volunteering, particularly in the earlier stages of their dementia.

Read more about the Council’s work on dementia

Read a progress report for the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge