Inequalities in Dementia Services — [Christina Rees in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 12:30 pm on 16 May 2024.

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Photo of Debbie Abrahams Debbie Abrahams Labour, Oldham East and Saddleworth 12:30, 16 May 2024

The hon. Member is absolutely right; there is less money going into research. On why there is not more done about it, the hon. Member really needs to direct that question to the Minister. I have set out all the evidence that says it should be a priority for the families and individuals affected and a priority for our society, and it should also reflect how we organise our care system, given that predominantly the people in the care system are those living with a diagnosis. The hon. Member will therefore have to direct that question to the Minister.

Going back to my point about the investment made in 2021-22, can the Minister update us on how that is going and the improvements that she may not see immediately but which she hopes to see? Clearly, that is something we need to see as part of the levelling-up agenda.

As I said before, 2,300 people filled out our online survey and shared their stories to inform our work. Sadly, just 5% of people’s stories were positive. Five per cent: that is awful, is it not? After a constituent came to see me regarding concerns about the delay for her mother’s diagnosis—it took her 15 weeks to get an appointment for her mother to attend for a dementia diagnosis, during which time she noticed a considerable decline in her cognitive health—I tabled some written questions on the proportion of people waiting more than 15 weeks for an initial dementia diagnosis and the average waiting time for an assessment. I was told in response on 22 January 2024 that those data were “not held centrally”. I find that extraordinary. National strategies should not just reflect the evidence and data for a national profile around dementia, so we should agree that that needs to change.