UK: No Time To Rest - A Brief History Of Raising Awareness For Dementia In The UK

Last Updated: 16 October 2017
Article by Karen Taylor

World Alzheimer's Day, held every year on 21 September, is an opportunity for organisations and individuals around the world to raise awareness, highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia and explores how to help people live well with dementia. Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia; a number is growing by 10 million every year (or a new case every three seconds).1 Moreover, an increasing number of surveys show that dementia is the most feared disease amongst adults. However, it is possible to live well with the condition if the needs of people with dementia are upheld and dementia continues to be recognised as a public health priority.2 Tackling the global challenge of dementia requires investment in research, effective collaboration and a willingness to adopt evidence based good practice. This week Deloitte and the Alzheimer's society hosted a panel discussion on dementia which I was privileged to participate in. Given the importance of the subject, I'm using this week's blog to share the content of my presentation to help maintain the profile of this unrelenting challenge which touches most people's lives in some way.

My interest in dementia and my relationship with the Alzheimer's Society began in 2007 when I led a National Audit Office's (NAO) Value for Money Investigation into the effectiveness of dementia services in England. The NAO's report, 'Improving services and support for people with dementia' shone a spotlight on the devastating scale and extent of the dementia challenge and the need for urgent action to improve the way in which people with dementia and their carers were treated. We found that despite a steeply rising trend in cases of dementia, the condition was given far too low a priority by health and social services and suffered from poor awareness and understanding, which in part was due to the stigma attached to both mental illness and old age. There was also a widely held perception that little could be done and a lack of urgency attached to diagnosing and treating the condition. We drew parallels between our attitudes to dementia in 2007 and our attitudes towards cancer in the 1950s, when there were few treatments and patients were commonly not told the diagnosis for fear of distress.3 At the time the report was seen, and indeed is still seen, as a seminal moment in putting dementia firmly on the UK government's agenda.

The NAO report was subsequently the subject of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing, that was concerned that despite its significant human and financial impact, the Department of Health (DH) had not given dementia the same priority status as cancer and coronary heart disease, and the NHS had not afforded dementia the same focus for improvement.4 In response to the PAC recommendations the DH launched a consultation to develop a National Dementia Strategy (NDS). The strategy, 'Living well with dementia: a national dementia strategy for England', was published in February 2009.5

A short follow-up update for the PAC in 2010 concluded that the actions taken so far had not matched the rhetoric in terms of urgency and that the strategy lacked the mechanisms needed to bring about large scale improvements. These included ring fenced investment funding, national improvement targets, and appointment of national clinical director – all of which were credited with helping deliver previous strategies like the national stroke strategy - but were lacking at that point. The PAC concluded that without these mechanisms it was unlikely that the intended and much needed transformation of services would be delivered within the strategy's five year timeframe.6

I joined Deloitte in November 2011 and in 2012 was one of a number of employees who proposed the Alzheimer's Society as a candidate for our new national charity partner (to run from June 2013 to 2016). The Society was shortlisted and when staff votes were counted the Society received around half of all the votes, demonstrating just how much improving dementia care was seen as a worthwhile issue, by what is a relatively young staff cohort, many of whom have had personal experience of a family member or friend with dementia.

Deloitte's strap line for its partnership with the Alzheimer's Society was "Care for today, cure for tomorrow". The five priority activities were: "Awareness, Volunteering, Fundraising, Pro-bono work and the Deloitte Research Programme". Staff were also encouraged to make a personal statement by becoming a Dementia Friend or a Dementia Champion.7

Once established as charity partner, I undertook a research project for the Society to evaluate the achievements of the NDS and identify what more was needed. The research involved a detailed literature review, and once established as charity partner, I undertook a research project for the Society to evaluate the achievements of the NDS and identify what more was needed. The research involved a detailed literature review and:

  • an evaluation and interpretation of the outcomes of two roundtable discussions involving leading experts in the field of dementia
  • an analysis of the results of a follow-up survey of attendees and a wider group of leading experts.

Our joint report, 'Dementia today and tomorrow: A new deal for people with dementia and their carers' was used by the Society to promote debate and discussion on what further action is needed to make dementia care fit for the 21st century.8

It acknowledged the important role of the then Prime Minister (PM), David Cameron's three year Dementia Challenge published in 2012 -which described dementia as "a national crisis"9; the subsequent work in relation to the dementia challenge and the more recent Prime Ministers Challenge on Dementia 2020.10

There is no doubt that there have been tremendous improvements in the diagnosis and supporting people with dementia in the years since the 2007 report. Indeed, in 2009, England led the world in implementing a National Dementia Strategy, and in June 2017 Canada became the 30th country to launch a National Dementia Strategy.11 The importance David Cameron's championing of the issue and putting it on the agenda of the G8 summit in London was a truly game changing achievement. However given the increasing prevalence and costs, and the social care challenges facing the UK there is no time to rest on any laurels and there is much more that still needs to be done. Importantly, there is an overwhelming need to reiterate the clarion call in all the above documents for more investment in dementia research; a subject I will return to next month. 

Footnotes

https://www.gadaalliance.org/global-challenge/

2 ibid

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/improving-services-and-support-for-people-with-dementia/

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmpubacc/228/228.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/living-well-with-dementia-a-national-dementia-strategy

https://www.nao.org.uk/report/improving-dementia-services-in-england-an-interim-report/

http://blogs.deloitte.co.uk/health/2014/11/helping-people-with-dementia-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-their-friends.html

http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/deloitte-uk-dementia-today-and-tomorrow.pdf

9 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-challenge-on-dementia

10 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prime-ministers-challenge-on-dementia-2020

11 https://www.alz.co.uk/news/canada-becomes-30th-country-to-launch-national-dementia-strategy

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions