The National Dementia strategy in England

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b931 (Published 10 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b931
  1. Alistair Burns, professor of old age psychiatry1,
  2. Philippe Robert, professor of psychiatry2
  1. 1University of Manchester Psychiatry Research Group, Manchester M13 9PL
  2. 2Centre Mémoire de Ressources et de Recherche, CHU de Nice, Hôpital de Cimiez, 06000, Nice, France
  1. Alistair.Burns{at}manchester.ac.uk

    A “smorgasbord” of evidence, economics, and obligation

    Public awareness of dementia is currently high, thanks to touching personal accounts of the illness through individual experience, such as that of the writer Sir Terry Pratchett.1 In the United Kingdom, dementia affects about 700 000 people at an estimated cost of £17bn (€19bn; $24bn) a year.2 The National Dementia strategy for England—the product of extensive consultation with an estimated funding of £150m—was launched in February 2009.3 The main outputs are 17 recommendations coalesced around three areas—raising awareness, diagnosing the disease early on, and improving quality of care. The mantra of “a memory clinic in every town” was one of the publicity sound bites,4 but it raised legitimate questions about the evidence behind the strategy. How many of the 17 recommendations are evidence based? How many can be? The answer to both questions is—some of them.

    The recommendations include a mix of long awaited priority setting and reaffirmation of existing legislation. Some are obvious—for example, good quality information for people with dementia and their carers and improved community support and implementation …

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