Prime Minister pledges funding for dementia research and care

Funding for research into dementia is to be doubled to £66m by 2015 to try to make the UK a world leader in the field, David Cameron has announced.

Dementia is thought to affect around 800,000 people in the UK, with the cost to society estimated at £23bn. In the next decade, the number with the disease is expected to top one million.

Mr Cameron has set out plans to step up research into cures and treatments and to ensure that the health and social care systems are equipped to deal with the problem.

Mr Cameron said: “One of the greatest challenges of our time is what I’d call the quiet crisis, one that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families, but that relative to its impact is hardly acknowledged.

“Dementia is simply a terrible disease. And it is a scandal that we as a country haven’t kept pace with it. The level of diagnosis, understanding and awareness of dementia is shockingly low. It is as though we’ve been in collective denial.”

The prime minister said that the costs associated with the disease are already higher than those for cancer, heart disease or stroke. Overall funding for dementia research in 2010 totalled £26.6m. Under the plan for 2015, it will be £66m.

Article adapted from the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk 26/03/12