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UK government spends £300 million on dementia

Published on 23/02/15 at 10:50am
Dementia image
Damage to brain cells that gets worse over time causes the symptoms of dementia

UK prime minister David Cameron has said the government is to invest more than £300m into dementia research and that NHS staff will undergo training to understand the condition. 

The so-called ‘Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020’ will see the money put towards UK research and medical innovation. Alongside this an international dementia institute will be established in England within five years in order to make the UK a world leader for research on dementia and medical trials. 

A separate multi-million pound fund is also to be launched soon to help establish a large-scale, international investment scheme (from the private and public sector) to discover new drugs that could slow down the onset of dementia, or even cure it by 2025 Cameron says.

“Dementia is one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime, and I am proud that we are leading the world in fighting it. Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer.”

The plans also involve all NHS staff – some 1.3m people, including hospital porters to surgeons – will now also be required to undergo training in dementia so that people have the know-how and understanding to provide the best standards of care. 

The number of people living with dementia worldwide today is estimated at 44 million people, set to almost double by 2030. The government notes the cost to healthcare is huge, with dementia now being among the greatest pressures on systems around the world. 

Cameron says it costs an estimated £370billion ($604 billion) to treat globally, and that without such urgent action this is set to rise. In contrast global spending on dementia is at five times below research on cancer, with only three new drugs making it onto the market in the last 15 years. 

Brett Wells


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