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National dementia strategy to be renewed and ‘refreshed’ from April

The Government’s national dementia strategy is to be renewed and ‘refreshed’ this year, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Taking questions in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Mr Hunt said the Government was committed to continuing to implement a national strategy beyond April when the current strategy expires.

Responding to a question from Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, who campaigns on dementia and will step down from her seat this year in order to care for her mother who has the disease, Mr Hunt said: ‘The national dementia strategy is here to stay.’

GP critics have questioned the drive to screen at-risk patients for dementia as part of the national strategy, in particular because of doubts over Government estimates of the current prevalence of dementia and under-diagnosis.

However, the health secretary asserted the programme would lead to a ‘big improvement’ on the 39% diagnosis rate estimated when the Government came into office.

Mr Hunt said: ‘When I say that the strategy is here to stay, I mean that it is here to be refreshed and updated. We are subscribing to some big new ambitions, including that by the time of the next election two thirds of people with dementia will be diagnosed and have a proper care plan and support for them and their families.

‘That is a big improvement on the 39% of people who were diagnosed when we came to office. There is much work to do, but I assure him that we are absolutely committed to delivering.’


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