Dementia: ADASS welcomes Prime Minister's personal commitment

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Monday 26th March 2012
Embargo: Immediate

Directors of adult social services have welcomed the historic personal commitment signalled by the prime minister's announcement today of further initiatives to help people with dementia. ADASS President Peter Hay acknowledge the initiatives as being `deeply helpful' although warned that they need to be matched by a wider reform of the care system a system which, according to some reports, costs the economy upwards of £20 billion every year. The commitments made by the Prime Minister and the Department of Health to care reform in a forthcoming white paper are vital to bringing the full ambition of the programme to life, he said.

Peter praised in particular the national screening programme for dementia, the doubling of the amount made available for research, the intention of making the UK a `world leader' in understanding the condition and the fact that the Alzheimer's Society will maintain an annual audit of progress.

He also congratulated Sarah Pickup, incoming ADASS President for 2012/13 for her appointment as a joint lead on care in one of the three strands of the prime minister's announcement. Sarah's leadership is vital to ensuring the connection between the programme and the wider changes needed. ADASS particularly welcomed the commitment by the PM to work relentlessly to improve lives  to take the fight to dementia while being utterly prepared to share in having these words judged by his actions.

His commitment to action is clear that the problems of dementia cannot be solved by attending to the medical aspects of the condition alone. Peter Hay said dementia is already impacting severely on social care costs, an impact that will only deepen as the numbers of older people affected increases substantially in the coming years.

He said: no full resolution of the difficulties older people with dementia and their families and carers face will be made without a full settlement of the issues raised by the Dilnot Commission; a building up of capacity within our community care services to provide additional support for people at home; a much greater emphasis on preventive services, and a determined move to keep older people with dementia from unnecessary admissions to acute sector hospitals.

With these moves, a proper, well-managed move to a more intensely personalised service for people with dementia and their families, and a switch of resources from residential and acute sector services to the community we should, in the coming decade, be able to make great strides forward in - as the prime minister hopes - solving the problems of the `scandal' he has so properly recognised and identified.

We welcome this huge personal commitment and are determined to play our part in making much needed changes happen as well as holding the government to account for the actions agreed today.

ENDS

For further information contact
Peter Hay, ADASS President, 077669 923000
Sarah Pickup, ADASS Vice President, 01992 556300
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.

* Earlier this month, ADASS published two documents looking at the future of services for older people, and ways in which providing people with personal budgets might be reviewed. See:

The Case for Tomorrow Facing the Beyond: A joint discussion document on the future of services for older people
Date: March 2012

The Case for Tomorrow.  Considers the background to a key recommendation of the ADASS discussion document The Case for Tomorrow published in March 2012