To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to co-ordinate with other government departments on provisions of (a) support networks, (b) sheltered accommodation and (c) carers for people diagnosed with dementia.
On 21 February 2015 The Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 was published, building on the achievements of the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2012-2015. The Government is clear that dementia remains a priority and will implement the 2020 Challenge in full to make sure that dementia care, support, awareness and research are transformed by 2020.
The 2020 Challenge raises the importance of social action solutions such as peer support and befriending services which can also provide practical and emotional support to people with dementia and carers, reduce isolation and prevent crisis. The impact of these interventions is being robustly tested so that evidence on the most effective interventions can be disseminated.
During the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2012-2015 the Department of Health in partnership with Public Health England and the Alzheimer’s Society made significant progress on the Dementia Friends and dementia friendly communities campaigns. We currently have over 1 million Dementia Friends, achieving our target of reaching 1 million Dementia Friends by March 2015. Alzheimer’s Society are committed to delivering an additional 3 million Dementia Friends in England by 2020.
92 communities across England have signed up to Alzheimer’s Society’s foundation-stage recognition process for dementia friendly communities.
The Department of Health has been working closely with the Housing Learning and Improvement network to develop a memorandum of understanding for the housing sector including the development of services specifically for people with dementia.
The Government launched the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund (CASSH) in October 2012 which is due to run until April 2018 to support the development of specialised housing for older people (including those with dementia), adults with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or mental health needs. The Department of Health worked closely with Department for Communities and Local Government on the CASSH.
In May 2014, NHS England published its Commitment to carers. Amongst its commitments, NHS England confirmed it will support timely dementia diagnosis and the best available treatment for everyone who needs it, including support for their carers and highlighted that the revised Dementia Direct Enhanced Service includes an offer of a health check for carers and signposting for information and support.
A variety of Government Departments play vital roles in supporting carers and this is coordinated through updated action plans underpinned by the National Carers Strategy. Departments continue to work together to explore innovative ways of improving support for cares. For example, the Department of Health, Government Equality Office and Department for Work and Pensions have jointly invested £1.6 million to fund pilots in nine local authority areas to explore ways in which people can be supported to combine work and care.
The Department of Health led on the introduction of the Care Act 2014, which gives local authorities legal duties to support carers in a number of ways. This includes individual rights for carers to get an assessment, plus a right to support to meet any needs assessed as eligible against the national minimum eligibility threshold. The Department of Health has provided £104 million of funding to local authorities for these rights in 2015/16.