On 14 February 2018, Welsh Government launched its brand new Dementia Action Plan for Wales.
This is a momentous step forward. It is the result of years of campaigning and hard work to ensure people affected by dementia in Wales have their say.
How was the Dementia Action Plan developed?
The Welsh Government is responsible for health, social care, transport, housing, and more. We needed them to take action to improve support for people with dementia.
In the run up to the 2016 Welsh Assembly elections, we launched our #45000reasons campaign. This called for a dedicated dementia action plan to support the 45,000 people in Wales living with dementia.
We managed to secure a commitment from every main political party on supporting people affected by dementia. After the election, the government announced it would begin developing a dedicated action plan.
Our priority was making sure people affected by dementia could meaningfully influence the Action Plan. We worked with Welsh Government and Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project (DEEP) to deliver consultation sessions with people affected by dementia. We engaged with our service users, under-represented communities, and the general public.
Over 1,100 people shared their views with us.
We united against dementia with organisations from across the third sector. We also produced our own Alzheimer’s Society Cymru response, with contributions from people affected by dementia and our frontline staff.
What does it all mean?
The Action Plan is designed to improve support and services in Wales. It addresses some of the key aspirations people affected by dementia raised. This includes a key point of contact during their ‘journey’, and person-centred support for carers and family. It also includes access to flexible respite services.
The Action Plan is taking a rights-based approach to services. It includes the Dementia Statements, developed by people affected by dementia, which will underpin the implementation.
The Welsh Government will be investing £10 million annually to implement the strategy. They will focus on:
- Developing ‘teams around the individual’ to provide support
- Ensuring all people with dementia living in the community have access to a support worker
- Increasing the rate and timeliness of dementia diagnosis – by at least 3% annually, from 51% in 2016 to reach 66% by December 2021
- Enabling people to stay in their homes and communities longer by working with social care, housing and transport sectors
- More training for healthcare staff to have the skills to recognise dementia. This will help them feel confident and competent in supporting people living with dementia
- Introducing the principles of John’s Campaign for carers to stay with the people they support in hospitals
What will happen next?
Now, the real work begins. We must make sure Welsh Government, local health boards and councils implement the Action Plan properly. It must include the voices of people affected by dementia at every level.
We must seize this opportunity to make sure Welsh public services, at all levels, unite with people affected by dementia.