This year will see a review of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. Arron Mattu, Policy Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, explains how this could help achieve positive change for people affected by dementia.
What is the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020?
The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 was set up in 2015 by the previous Government. The current Government has recommitted to the Challenge. By 2020, the Challenge aims for England to become:
- The best country in the world for dementia care and support
- The best country in the world for people with dementia, their carers and families to live
- The best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases
The Challenge includes over 50 commitments to help achieve these goals, 18 of which are ‘key aspirations’ in need of immediate action. This means they are considered of vital importance or a foundation for achieving the other commitments.
Why is a review taking place?
In March 2016, the Government published an Implementation Plan detailing actions for delivering the 18 key commitments by 2020. The Government said it would review the Plan in 2018.
The review was opened in February this year. It is looking at the progress made with the key commitments and what can be done to help deliver them by 2020. Alzheimer’s Society submitted a response to this review in partnership with the Three Nations Dementia Working Group in May.
What we said
One of our key calls was for the new messaging in the NHS Health Check, on how to reduce the risk of dementia, to be put into practice successfully. We said health professionals should receive resources and training to support them to deliver the new messaging. This will help to raise awareness and understanding of the lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of dementia.
Another key call was for all NHS and social care staff providing direct care to people with dementia to receive a higher level of dementia training. You can see the negative impact that a lack of staff training can have in our Fix Dementia Care: Homecare report. In the report, we heard stories of people in soiled clothing and having urinary tract infections overlooked. Training standards need to be increased for people with dementia to receive more person-centred care.
Further key calls included;
- Better understanding of and action to address differences in diagnosis rates across the country
- Further work to increase the number of Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities
- More people with dementia having the chance to participate in research
- Dementia Statements to be upheld by Government and other national partners responsible for delivering the Challenge in their work.
How the review affects you
The Challenge is vitally important for improving awareness, care, support and research for dementia. It has the potential to deliver;
- More information about reducing the risk of dementia
- Higher levels of dementia training for staff in healthcare and social care
- More dementia-friendly communities
- More dementia research and more opportunities to be part of dementia research.
What comes next?
Later this year, we expect the Government to release a report explaining the progress with the key commitments so far. It will also detail the actions needed to deliver these commitments by 2020. We’ll keep you updated on the outcome of the report, so keep an eye out on our website for more information.
In the meantime, you can also sign up to hear about our campaigning and take action to achieve change.