‘Dementia friends’ in shops part of new care package

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Posted 04/03/2014

Julie Crossley 1340718845_JulieCrossleyPX.jpg

A new package of care for dementia sufferers will help fight the illness, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. There are a number of strands to this, with businesses signing up to support customers with dementia, a “world dementia envoy” being appointed and NHS England pledging to invest £90m in an effort to bring down diagnosis waiting times by March next year.

As part of the announcement, 190,000 staff from British businesses, including Marks and Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy, have signed up to become “dementia friends”.   They will be trained to learn how to spot the signs of dementia among customers and offer support for sufferers.

Mr Hunt said: “Dementia can be a horrific and heartbreaking disease, but it is my mission as health secretary to make this country the best place in the world to get a dementia diagnosis, as well as a global leader in the fight to find a cure. “Today’s package is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front – from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our High Streets to the quest for a cure.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. One in three people over 65 will develop the condition, and two-thirds of sufferers are women. NHS England will target work in areas where it can take up to 25 weeks to carry out a diagnosis. In other areas, diagnostic assessments can take as little as six weeks.

Mr Hunt added: “To have variation in diagnosis rates from a few weeks to close to six months is totally unacceptable and I am pleased that NHS England have agreed to address this within the funding they have available.”

Julie Crossley, a medical injury lawyer at Ashtons Legal, comments: “Any recognition of the impact of this terrible disease and ways in which to help sufferers is always welcome news. I am not entirely clear yet how this might work in reality.”


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