So the UK government has decided to launch a three-pronged initiative to help those who have dementia or care for someone who has it. Their plan is to encourage the early detection of memory problems, improve the quality of care received in care homes, and have also pledged to invest in research that may one day offer a cure.
These are great ideals – the problem is that they are coming at a time of NHS cutbacks. Care agencies are businesses working to a model that needs to generate profits in order to continue to deliver the service. If we want better care then we will have to pay for it one way or another.
Dementia clinics or memory assessment clinics have a long waiting list and patients can face intervals of several months between outpatient appointments. Early detection of dementia will be useful for the carers of these patients as hopefully it will enable them to link up with local support groups earlier, but unless extra investment goes into providing more dementia clinic appointment slots the patients will inevitably be looking at an even longer wait before their memory clinic appointments.