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Spring Statement fails to address ‘shameful’ shortfall in dementia funding

by Lisa Carr

Alzheimer’s Society were looking for two key funding announcements in today’s Statement – the Government to deliver on its ‘dementia moonshot’ pledge from their 2019 manifesto to double research funding into dementia over the next decade, and £70m over two years to clear the backlog in dementia diagnosis rates. The pandemic has caused dementia diagnosis rates to plummet, with an estimated 35,000 people needing to be diagnosed to get the national rate back to pre-pandemic levels. A National Dementia Strategy from the DHSC targeting diagnosis, prevention, and research in dementia is expected later this year.

James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society said:  

“Dementia is once again the biggest killer in England, but today yet another Statement fails to address the shameful funding shortfall for this condition. Covid had a catastrophic effect on people with dementia and they continue to be the hardest hit victims of the pandemic. The 900,000 people living with dementia and their families deserve better.  

“The Government must deliver on its manifesto commitment to double dementia research spending and provide £70m urgently to clear the severe backlogs in diagnosis. This two-year anniversary of the first lockdown is a poignant moment for people affected by dementia, after more than 30,000 people with dementia lost their lives to Covid-19.

“But we have also seen the transformational impact that science can bring with the success of the Covid-19 vaccines. Life-changing treatments for dementia are within our reach, and we can be world leaders in this field, but without the promised funding boost from the Government, they will remain frustratingly out of reach for the hundreds of thousands waiting for a breakthrough.

“Today’s Statement is a missed opportunity. It is now more important than ever that the National Dementia Strategy delivers the long-overdue and desperately needed research funding and the £70m investment to ensure everyone who needs it can get a dementia diagnosis.” 

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