10-year plan pledged

Health secretary Sajid Javid has held out the prospect of a 10-year plan to prevent dementia and boost funding for research.

Speaking at Alzheimer’s Society’s annual conference, Javid pledged that the plan – the government’s long awaited dementia strategy now expected later this year – would focus on how medicines, science and technology can be developed to improve dementia outcomes.

The health secretary said the government’s strategy would include a cross-government plan to boost the £375 million already committed for research into neurodegenerative diseases, actions to reduce the 40% of dementia believed to be preventable and explore how to cut prevalence and severity, and funding the NHS to raise diagnosis rates post-covid.

Javid admitted that the pandemic had “stemmed the tide of progress”, with an estimated 30,000 people going undiagnosed because they were unable to access memory services.

The new Health and Social Care Act, coupled with a review of GP services being undertaken by Claire Fuller, were intended to strengthen local cooperation to promote the prevention of conditions like dementia, he said.

“I think one of the reasons why we haven’t made as much progress on dementia as we would like is because it’s going to take some pretty seismic shifts, both in terms of the architecture of health and care and our own approach,” Javid told the conference.  “Reform takes time and you need to take people with you. But it’s a journey we’ve already begun.”