Committee of Public Accounts Press Notice



National Audit Office report: Improving services for people with dementia

Dementia is largely being neglected by health and social care services in England. The numbers of cases are expected to soar as the population ages but the condition is treated much like cancer was in the 1950s:  neglected and swept under the carpet.

Let’s look at the facts. This disease affects some 560,000 people in England. It costs around £9.1 billion a year, with a further £5.2 million spent on informal care.  But, many people are not being diagnosed early enough and once diagnosed are often left without essential care  or support -  ending up unnecessarily in care homes or hospital beds, stripping them of their independence and chance to live fulfilled lives.

Two thirds of people with dementia are cared for in the community, largely by some 476,000 informal carers, mainly family members. These carers play a vital role in caring for people with dementia and whilst they also desperately need support, they too are largely neglected by the system.

We must confront this squarely. Dementia cannot be ignored. The awareness of dementia and its care must be raised among health and social care professionals. Diagnosis must be improved (at present only a third of GPs are confident of detecting the disease) and care options understood better.

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589 or 07917 488 488.