Over three quarters of a million people in England live with dementia, a number that will grow exponentially, and every new diagnosis leaves another family facing a huge financial and psychological burden.
In 2015, the then Department of Health said England should become “the best country in the world for dementia care and support”. There remains much progress necessary to achieve this ambition. The care system is a bureaucratic maze that patients and their families are expected to navigate at their most vulnerable and when in need of swift and effective support. England’s 700,000 unpaid dementia carers too often face a lonely struggle to access care or even a full diagnosis for a loved one.
Through no fault of their own, people with dementia and their families, are at the sharp end of a system that does not work. Too often the NHS and social care can fail even in basic tasks such as the accurate and timely transfer of patient information. We concluded in our report, Social care: funding and workforce, that “the current system is unfair, confusing, demeaning, and frightening”, and we heard no evidence in this inquiry to change our view.
This horrifying disease costs the nation almost £30 billion each year so the Government’s commitment to increase funding and to reform social care is welcome. Significant additional investment is required alongside bold funding reform and a long-term plan for the social care sector. It is imperative that the Government makes good on its promise, not months or years from now, but within a matter of weeks
Supporting people with dementia and their carers
This report into dementia care criticises the government plans for the health and care levy. In the committee’s view, the levy provides insufficient funding for social care over the next three years and fails to spell out how the sector will benefit from the levy after that.