People with dementia deserve high-quality, affordable care that gives them the right support for their needs, and the UK Government is committed to achieving this. While progress in the care, support, and treatment of people with dementia has been made over recent years, with more people receiving a diagnosis of dementia than ever before, there is still more that can be done, including the formulation of a long-term solution for social care.
In Scotland, health and social care are devolved issues, and so dementia care is the responsibility of the Scottish Government in Holyrood. Unfortunately, the Scottish Government has been sluggish in reforming the social care system here.
For example, we are now seven years into the Scottish Government’s ten-year strategy for implementing self-directed support – which was intended to allow individuals and families, rather than social workers, make more decisions relating to their care – but too many people are still waiting for these reforms. While the move to give individuals and families more control is welcome, a recent report by Audit Scotland found that many service users are still to experience any change. Age Scotland have also pointed out that people are lacking information about how they can access self-directed support.
The UK Government, meanwhile, has made dementia a priority. In England, for instance, over 660,000 NHS staff have received dementia training, and over 100,000 social care workers have also received some form of dementia awareness training. Likewise, the UK Government has doubled research spending on dementia, so it will total over £300 million by 2020, with the UK’s first ever Dementia Research Institute receiving £150 million of this.
I am assured, therefore, that the UK Government is committed to quality, sustainable dementia care, as well as to giving dementia research the funding it needs. I hope the Scottish Government will soon follow suit and get serious about care, support, and treatment for people with dementia.