Dementia strategy

The forthcoming national dementia strategy will include a major focus on prevention and research, health secretary Sajid Javid told delegates at the annual conference of the Alzheimer’s Society this week (17 May), announcing a 10-year plan he said would be visionary, properly funded and “more ambitious than anything we’ve done before”. Data suggests as much as 40% of dementia is potentially preventable, he said, but delegates warned that thousands of people living with dementia need to see tangible change now. The new strategy is expected later this year.

The conference focused on diagnosis and how integrated care systems, brought in with the Health and Care Act, can provide the structure and opportunity for improving the diagnostic journey for all involved. Key speakers described successful restructuring of memory services in Sandwell (Dr Nadia Wahid) and Northamptonshire (Giles West). In both, removing the bottleneck requirement of diagnosis before access to the system had proved the key to planning and providing better services and a pathway that worked for all involved. However, both warned that the new systems provide the architecture but will not work without local collaboration.