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Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL17632, tabled on 3 September 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to improve dementia care research and support for carers of people with dementia across the UK.

Answered on

9 September 2019

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

The Government’s Dementia 2020 Challenge aims to make England the best country in the world for dementia care, support, awareness and research. The Government is committed to supporting research into dementia to find a disease-modifying treatment by 2025, and to help people with dementia live well with the condition. People participating in research are central to this effort, as are the health and social care staff who support their participation.

We expect all people who are newly diagnosed with dementia, and their carers, to receive information on opportunities to take part in research into dementia. By 2020, we expect all relevant staff to have received appropriate dementia training. This should include training relevant staff to be able to signpost interested individuals towards research via the Join Dementia Research service. We are also currently exploring options for increasing take-up of the more advanced Tier 2 training to everyone who needs it.

We are committed to supporting carers to provide care in ways that protect and preserve their own health and wellbeing. In June 2018, we published the Carers Action Plan, a cross-Government programme of targeted work, including a £5 million Carers Innovation Fund to encourage innovative and creative ways of supporting carers. In addition, we are working with local government on a sector-led improvement programme of work focused on the implementation of the Care Act 2014 duties for carers.

The Department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The usual practice of the NIHR is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics such as dementia. Research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health including dementia. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of the NIHR’s funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

The NIHR funding for dementia research was £43.0 million in 2017/18, having increased from £27 million in 2013/14. Government spending overall on dementia research is running ahead of the Government’s 2020 Dementia Challenge commitment to maintain this at £300 million over five years. The total in 2017/18 was £82.5 million; £43 million via the NIHR, £36.3 million via the Medical Research Council and £3.2 million via the Economic and Social Research Council.

Original answer

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before Prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.