Health Secretary: Britain must 'raise our game' on dementia

The Health Secretary has said Britain must "raise our game" on dementia. A leading French neurologist told ITV News the UK needs hundreds more specialists in order to catch up with France in terms of early diagnosis of the disease.

Latest ITV News reports

Son: 'Dementia stripped my mother of her character'

A dementia sufferer's son said the disease "strips someone of their character", as Jeremy Hunt called on Britain to "raise our game" on the illness.

Pauline Murray-White's son has filmed his mother's battle with the illness.

Pauline Murray-White's son filmed his mother's battle with the illness since she was first diagnosed in 2007 and captured the moment she struggled to recognise a picture of her late partner.

James Murray-White said the relationships of sufferers "eventually shatter."

He added: "Dementia just strips someone of their character, their personality, who they and what they knew."

Watch Mr Murray-White talk about his mother's illness in a report from December

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Hunt to tackle 'inconsistent' dementia diagnosis speeds

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV's Daybreak he wants to tackle the disparity in dementia diagnosis speeds across the UK and pledged to use some of the £90 million in funding to "even out that inconsistency."

Mr Hunt said the disparity in diagnosis speeds was down to "some parts of the country having more efficient systems in place than others."

Dementia costs the British economy "hundreds of billions" of pounds and will cost the taxpayer even more if it develops unchecked, the Health Secretary added.

Mr Hunt wanted to provide a support network for the families of sufferers and develop "a better public understanding" of the degenerative disease.

Read: Govt 'must tackle poor dementia care standards'

Govt 'must tackle poor dementia care standards'

Labour have warned that the Government must tackle "poor care standards" for dementia sufferers, after the Jeremy Hunt announced a new package of measures to improve diagnosis rates.

Shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall said the Government must "do far more to help people struggling to cope with dementia right now".

£2.7 billion has been cut from council care budgets under this Government, hitting the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families.

This isn't good for them, and is a false economy as an increasing number of elderly people with dementia are ending up in hospitals or care homes when they don't need to.

The Prime Minister cannot credibly claim to show leadership on dementia unless he tackles poor care standards, like the increasing number of 15-minute home visits which are barely enough time to make a cup of tea, let alone help a frail elderly person with dementia get up, washed, dressed and fed.

Read: Jeremy Hunt to learn from France on dementia diagnosis

Hunt to learn from France on dementia diagnosis

More GPs in France spot the early signs of dementia than friends and family. Credit: PA Wire

Jeremy Hunt travelled to France to see how the country effectively diagnoses and treats dementia, before he announced a £90 million package to improve care in the UK.

ITV News' Political Correspondent Libby Wiener travelled with Jeremy Hunt as he met with the French Health Minister, Marisol Touraine, and dementia experts on a visit to a leading Brain and Spine Institute in Paris.

A report by Alzheimer's Disease International suggests that more GPs in France spot the early signs of dementia than friends and family, which is in stark contrast to the UK.

Read: Around 800,000 suffer from dementia in UK

Around 800,000 suffer from dementia in UK

Jeremy Hunt has announced a new range of measures to help dementia sufferers as he bids to make the UK a "global leader" in fighting the illness

Figures from the Alzheimer's Society revealed:

  • Around 800,000 people suffer from dementia in the UK
  • This figure is likely to soar to 1.7 million by 2050
  • One in three people over 65 will die with dementia
  • There are over 17,000 people under 65 with the illness
  • The charity estimate that the illness costs the UK over £23 billion a year, and this figure is likely to rise to £27 billion per annum by 2018
  • Unpaid carers supporting someone with dementia save the economy £8 billion a year

Read: 'Dementia strips someone of their character'

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Hunt wants to make UK 'global leader' in dementia fight

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is on a mission to make the UK a global leader in finding a cure for dementia, as he unveiled a range of measures to help those suffering from the illness.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a new range of measures to help in the fight against dementi Credit: PA Wire

"Dementia can be a horrific and heartbreaking disease, but it is my mission as Health Secretary to make this country the best place in the world to get a dementia diagnosis, as well as a global leader in the fight to find a cure," Mr Hunt said.

"Today's package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front."

The Health Secretary said it was "totally unacceptable" to have variations in diagnosis rates, and welcomed NHS England's work to diagnose sufferers earlier.

Read: 'Dementia strips someone of their character'

New dementia care plans announced by Jeremy Hunt

New care measures for dementia sufferers will make the UK a world leader in fighting the disease, Jeremy Hunt has claimed.

A new package of measures, including faster diagnosis and increased research funding, have been unveiled. Credit: PA Wire

The Health Secretary has announced a new package of care, including faster diagnosis, increased research funding and greater help from businesses to support sufferers.

NHS England will invest £90 million in a bid to diagnose two-thirds of people with dementia by next March.

Leading British businesses, including Marks & Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy, will train over 190,000 staff to learn how to spot the signs of dementia and offer support.