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Government pledges to spend £300m on dementia research

The Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the government will spend over £300m on research into dementia over the next five years.

David Cameron revealed an extension of the previous national dementia strategy, released in 2012: "What today's announcement is about is a very simple but bold ambition, and that is to make the United Kingdom the best place on the planet in terms of researching into dementia, in terms of diagnosing people with dementia and then in terms of treating, helping and caring for them."

‘One of the greatest challenges of our lifetime’

During the announcement, Cameron called the fight against dementia “one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime”, and vowed to find a cure for the condition by 2025: “Because of the growing strength of our economy, we can invest in research and drug-development, as well as public understanding, so we defeat this terrible condition and offer more hope and dignity for those who suffer”.

As part of the plans, an international dementia institute would be created, in a bid to make the UK a world leader in research and medical trials. The pledge also includes the creation of more “dementia-friendly communities” to help the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. The number of sufferers is expected to rise to a million within the next ten years, and the plans hope to make shops, transport and other public places more accessible for those with dementia.

More needed

Although there was support for the announcement, many said more needed to be done. Professor Nigel Hooper, a dementia researcher at the University of Manchester, said it was "a great investment" but that cancer research still received five times more investment globally, while Norman Lamb said people with dementia needed help now: "Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable older people have lost social care support since David Cameron entered Downing Street. Social care in England is close to collapse."

Fiona Lowry, CEO of the Good Care Group, commented: “We welcome all support from the government in the journey of dementia, both for sufferers and their loved ones. However the need for better care now must not be underestimated. If you’re concerned about dementia care for a family member or friend, you can contact Good Care Group for in-depth, caring and professional advice on the options available.”