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Most MPs believe dementia services are underfunded

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People living with dementia are being ignored and neglected by the government, the Alzheimer’s Society has warned, as a new poll reveals that the majority of MPs believe dementia services are underfunded.

More than three quarters (77%) of MPs believe social care is underfunded, according to a You Gov survey, commissioned by Alzheimer’s Society as part of its ongoing Fix Dementia Care campaign.

The survey of 101 MPs also revealed that the majority of politicians (80%) think dementia care should be mostly or 100% funded by the state, this includes 70% of Conservative MPs and 90% of Labour MPs.

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The results were revealed ahead of a Westminster debate this week where MPs issued a fresh demand that the government intervene to improve dementia care funding.

The Fix Dementia Care campaign revealed that people with dementia typically spend £100,000 on their care. People living with dementia often face higher costs for their care of up to more than 15% if they had standard social care.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The message could not be clearer: by far the majority of MPs believe large-scale government investment is required to improve social care, and yet the needs of people with dementia are still being neglected and ignored by the government.

“Social care is in a desperate state, in urgent need of a complete overhaul. Decades of underfunding have left people with dementia struggling with a system that is unfair and unsustainable. The NHS Long-Term Plan will fail without dementia care being addressed.”

Alzheimer’s Society has previously called for urgent investment for high quality care through a £2.4bn Dementia Fund while a long-term solution on social care is sought.

“The injustice of people battling to get care, on top of battling the devastating effects of dementia can’t go on. People with dementia are as deserving of NHS support as those with other diseases like cancer or stroke,” added Jeremy.

According to the survey, 65% of MPs said they would support a dedicated Dementia Fund, including 59% of Conservatives and 74% of Labour MPs.

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, Shadow Health Minister Julie Cooper confirmed Labour’s backing for the Fix Dementia Care campaign and called for the government to introduce a Dementia Fund this year.

“As part of the comprehensive spending review, the government must introduce a dedicated £2.4 billion dementia fund to cover the additional costs of delivering dementia specialist care, and end the inequity between dementia and other diseases that currently leaves affected families facing astronomical care costs,” she said.

“That fund would enable timely access to an integrated package of support and help to facilitate specialist training for all care workers, equipping them to deliver high-quality dementia care.”

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The author Lee Peart

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