Directors of adult social services 'fully accept' report on demetia and mental health issues

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: May 27, 2008
Embargo: 00/01hrs May 28, 2008

Directors of adult social services 'fully accept the message and implications of a major report on dementia and mental health issues launched today by the Kings Fund.  According to ADASS Vice President Jenny Owen, it builds on care minister Ivan Lewiss decision to commission  the first national strategy for dementia services last August, and whose consultation report is due to be published in the next few weeks.

While Richard Webb, co-chair of the ADASS Mental Health, Alcohol and Drugs Network stressed the importance of recognising that improved mental health doesnt depend only on specialist services.  Its about raising skills, tackling poverty and exclusion, improving housing and community safety all issues in which local government makes a significant difference.

According to Ms Owen, who is also co-chair of the National Strategy Group, the Kings Fund report reaffirms the data published last year in the Dementia UK report which showed the scale of the problem - the rising numbers of dementia sufferers and the costs of caring for them.  This was accepted by Ivan Lewis and confirms once again the need for dementia to be a top Governmental priority.

ADASS has been closely involved in developing the strategy - an important involvement since services have to be developed across health and social care.  Two thirds of people with dementia live at home, often with the support of community services.

Ms Owen said: We are aware that the rising numbers mean that more resources for these services will need to be a priority for future government investment.  We also support the need for current spending in dementia care to be spent effectively, investing more in earlier and better diagnosis and supporting people with better quality services.  We have to recognise that people may live with dementia for 7-12 years after the initial diagnosis.

The report, which predicts no significant upturn in the numbers of people with mental health conditions between now and 2026 was welcomed by the ADASS mental Health Network who agreed with the view that there is a compelling economic case for improving societys general mental health and support its focus on investing in  what works.

Mr Webb added: However, we would welcome further debate about the respective merits of therapeutic rather than pharmacological interventions.  

ENDS

For further information contact:
Jenny Owen, Vice-President, ADASS, 01245 434806;
Richard Webb, Co-chair, ADASS Mental Health, Alcohol and Drugs Network 01952 381005;
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755.

Portrait photos of Ms Owen and Mr Webb available on request