I support the Alzheimer’s Society campaign, ‘Fix Dementia Care.’ Dementia is one of the greatest challenges facing our country. The Alzheimer’s Society estimates 850,000 people in the UK are already living with dementia and that number is set to rise to over a million in the next five years.
I believe our health and social care system needs to change urgently in order to meet this challenge and to ensure that people with dementia get the support and care they need.
We need improvements in the quality of care and support for people with dementia, yet this will not be achieved until we find a solution to the funding crisis in social care. The huge cuts to Local Authority social care budgets in recent years have left hundreds of thousands of older people without support.
The scale of the cuts is forcing local councils to cut the services that would have helped to support people outside hospital. As a consequence, more and more people with dementia are spending time in hospital and, once admitted, are finding that the support is simply not in place in the community for them to return home.
The number of days patients are kept in hospital because there is nowhere safe to discharge them has doubled under this Government. This is a clear sign that Government cuts to social care have come at a huge human cost to some of the most vulnerable people in society and have put huge financial pressure on hospitals.
I stood on a manifesto at the last General Election which made action to improve quality of care and patient safety a priority. It included pledges to recruit extra nurses to help provide safe levels of staffing on wards, recruit 5,000 new home-care workers, and end time-limited 15-minute care visits. I also pledged to ensure my office is dementia friendly, train my staff to be dementia friendly and work with organisations locally to help make Liverpool Wavertree a dementia-friendly constituency.
I hope the Government carefully considers the issues raised by the ‘Fix Dementia Care’ campaign and takes urgent action.