Magazine article Public Finance

PAC Urges Rethink of Status for Dementia Care

Magazine article Public Finance

PAC Urges Rethink of Status for Dementia Care

Article excerpt

Soaring dementia levels are being ignored by health and social services across England: 'swept under the carpet' in the way cancer was in the 1950s, a senior MP and auditors warned this week.

Edward Leigh, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the illness, which affects 560,000 people in England, is often poorly diagnosed, leaving patients without essential care or support.

Leigh called for an urgent rethink over the provision of dementia services following a National Audit Office report, published on July 4, which warned that the number of patients could rise by as much as a third as the UK's population ages.

Alarmingly, auditors discovered an NHS and government ignorant of the extent of the problem, with few staff able to diagnose and manage the condition effectively.

'Steeply rising' dementia rates are already prevalent across England, the NAO report notes, but 'dementia has not received the priority status from the Department [of Health], the NHS or social care that it deserves'. …

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