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Policies dementia

Policies that affect dementia in Suffolk - part of When we get ill - State of Suffolk 2021

National policies

The Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020 was set up in 2015. The current Government has recommitted to the Challenge. By 2020, the Challenge aimed for England to become:

  • the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live; and
  • the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

In February 2019, the Government published phase 1 of its review of the implementation of the Challenge on Dementia 2020, stating it is “largely on track” to meet its commitments to improve the lives of those living with dementia, and their families and carers, including: “over 2.8 million people becoming Dementia Friends and 365 areas in England committing to being Dementia Friendly Communities…[and] the £250 million Dementia Discovery Fund”. The UK Dementia Research Institute was set up in 2016, and the spending target was reached in 2019.

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) built on the Five Year Forward View (2014) to:

  • support people to age well,
  • extend independence,
  • give carers greater recognition and support,
  • improve hospital and home care provided to people with dementia,
  • double research investment (including £300m government support),
  • support the voluntary sector (including the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Connect programme), and
  • prevent cases of dementia.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidelines covering mid-life approaches to delay or prevent the onset of dementia in later life, and diagnosis and management of dementia.

The 2014 Care Act gave carers the right to a needs assessment and associated Carer’s Support Plan, and entitles carers to support if they meet the eligibility criteria. The Carers Action Plan 2018–20 “set out a cross-government programme of work to improve support for carers over the next two years” is due to be evaluated in 2021. Although “the Government is ‘committed to improving the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals in 2021. It is not clear what form the proposals will take when published, or if they will include informal carers.

Local policies

In March 2021, the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board voted to sign up to a shared vision (set out by the Suffolk Dementia Forum) of how dementia-friendly communities would be supported and extended in Suffolk: “People living with dementia and their carers in Suffolk will have the best opportunities to be safe and well and continue to live an active life of their choosing, within an informed community that supports, includes and values them”. This built on the Board’s 2015 commitment to create a dementia-friendly County, and one of its four priorities: “older people in Suffolk have a good quality of life” (reviewed in 2019) (). The Suffolk Dementia Partnership Board has subsequently been established to galvanise and co-ordinate action across the system to achieve the board’s vision.

Suffolk Public Health & Communities has supported 24 local projects through the dementia-friendly communities fund, and there are several Dementia Action Alliances, as well as independent initiatives such as the long-standing Debenham Project. “Dementia-friendly communities are those in which both those with dementia and those who are caring for them, have the best possible opportunities to live beyond the diagnosis”.