Call for participation in dementia research

February 25, 2019

The Minister for Care is calling for more participation in dementia research as part of the Government's national Dementia 2020 Challenge.

More than 100,000 people with dementia are being urged to take part in research studies to help make England the best in the world for dementia care, support, research and awareness.

With 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025, Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage has reaffirmed the Government's commitment to the condition which is now the leading cause of death in England.

Ms Dinenage said, 'Dementia is a global health emergency and one the Government has not shied away from tackling - our world leading Dementia 2020 Challenge has led to impressive progress in how we treat and support people with dementia and now we are driving it forward to ensure we protect more people affected by this devastating condition.

To help tackle the global health challenge, Government launched the Dementia 2020 Challenge in 2015. Progress on the Challenge has already turned out the following results:

  • The dementia diagnosis rate has increased from 59% in 2015 to 67.9% which is above the requirement of 66.7% of people living with dementia.
  • There are now over 2.8 million Dementia Friends.
  • Dementia is included in NHS Health Checks, increasing the number of people aged 40-74 who are given advice on reducing their risk of dementia.
  • One million health care staff have received a level of dementia training so they can recognise and understand dementia, and signpost individuals and carers to appropriate support.
  • Government's investment in dementia research has risen hugely, at over £82.5m last year.

A review of progress on the Challenge also identified opportunities for further progress. These include:

  • Improving participation in dementia research to generate breakthroughs. Less than 4% of people diagnosed in England are currently involved in studies. The aim is to have 25% of people with a diagnosis signed up to Join Dementia Research.
  • Improving public awareness of the risk factors around dementia, such as heavy drinking, diabetes or high blood pressure. Recent Alzheimer’s Research UK found that only 1% of the public were able to name the seven known risks for dementia.
  • Enhancing our understanding of early onset dementia, including prevalence, diagnostic rate and whether GPs need additional training to improve care for younger people with dementia.

Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage added, 'We have invested large sums in research to drive innovation and achieve much needed breakthroughs in dementia but there is still further to go and there is still no cure.

'We have made great strides in improving the awareness of our fantastic health and social care workforce and the wider public, with millions more receive training or building their understanding by becoming a Dementia Friend. This is central to ensuring compassionate and informed care and support, so people with dementia can continue to participate in society as valued members of our communities.

'With the number of people with dementia set to increase by the millions over the next few years, there’s still more to do to ensure we meet the aims of the Challenge now, and into the future. I want to see improvements in how we treat younger people with the condition and raise public awareness of the risk factors.

'Dementia is a societal issue - it affects us all in one way or another. A society that supports family, friends, communities and research is a society we should all want to live in and it is a necessity to help us tackle this condition.'

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