£8bn a year spent on 'ineffective dementia care'

The Government's dementia strategy looks set to fail its 600,000 sufferers, because the condition has not been made a national priority despite costing more than heart disease, stroke and cancer combined.

As much as £8.2 billion is still being spent on ineffective dementia care every year, a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) concludes today.

Up to two thirds of dementia sufferers still never receive a formal diagnosis of their condition because of stigma, negative attitudes of GPs and a lack of urgency attached to diagnosis, the report warned.

Dementia patients are being unnecessarily admitted to hospital, have longer lengths of stay and enter residential care prematurely because of a lack of specialist services to support them.

This is despite the ambitious promises of the first-ever national dementia strategy, which aimed to transform the care of the rising number of sufferers and their families, when it was launched in February last year with funding of £150m and the promise of a string of memory clinics and advisors across the country.

There is still no basic training in dementia for doctors, nurses and care home workers although almost all staff members will care for people with the illness at some point.

An estimated 600,000 people in England have dementia, but this is expected to double within 30 years.

Dementia costs the health and social care budget more than cancer, heart disease and strike combined - £15.9billion in 2009 but expected to more than double to £34.8billion by 2026.

The report warned that it was unclear whether the first £60 million for the strategy had even been spent on dementia. The money had been paid primary care trusts' main budgets and was not ring fenced so there was currently no information about what they had spent it on.

New research in the report finds that GPs knowledge of dementia had not improved in five years. Over half of GPs surveyed had not received adequate training and almost a third remain unconfident in diagnosing dementia. Only 21 per cent of consultants said a senior clinician had taken the lead for improving dementia in their hospital and only 15 per cent of psychiatrists reported that their primary care trust had invested extra funds into their service.

Fewer than two in five (19 per cent) consultant psychiatrists believe that the strategy will be successfully implemented within its five-year time scale.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said: "The action however, has not so far matched the rhetoric in terms of urgency. At the moment this strategy lacks the mechanisms needed to bring about large scale improvements and without these mechanisms it is unlikely that the intended and much needed transformation of services will be delivered within the strategy's five year timeframe."

Andrew Ketteringham, Director of External Affairs of Alzheimer's Society said: "This influential report shows just how big the dementia crisis is. Change can't come soon enough for the millions of families battling daily with this devastating condition. The strategy will transform lives but only if local health authorities are compelled to give dementia the priority it deserves. Millions depend on the strategy succeeding. It's a race against time."

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, warned that "many of the same problems remain" despite the launch of the strategy.

He said: "Dementia has not been made a national priority. Without dedicated funding, good performance information, robust performance management and strong local leadership, services for people with dementia will not improve at the rate expected and the value for money of the £8.2 billion a year spent by the NHS and social care services on the condition remain poor."

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week