This site is intended for health professionals only

PM pledges to double dementia research funding

The level of diagnosis, understanding and awareness of dementia is “shockingly low”, the Prime Minister David Cameron will say today (26 March).

In a speech expected today, Cameron will launch a scathing attack on dementia services, claiming it to be “a scandal” that the country has failed to keep pace with the rise in sufferers. 

Ordering a 'fightback' against the disease, he has pledged to double the money spent on dementia research from £26 million at the end of the last Parliament, to over £66 million by 2015.

“One of the greatest challenges of our time is what I'd call the quiet crisis - one that steals lives and tears at the hearts of families but that relative to its impact is hardly acknowledged,” he will say.

"[Dementia] is simply a terrible disease. It is as though we've been in collective denial.”

670,000 people in England are currently living with dementia, costing England's health and social care system around £19bn - higher than the costs of cancer, heart disease or stroke services. 

Cameron will say the fight against dementia needs to mirror that of cancer in the 1970s and HIV in the 1980s and 90s.

“Today's announcement by the Prime Minister marks an unprecedented step towards making the UK a world leader in dementia,” said Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer's Society.

“Doubling funding for research, tackling diagnosis and calling for a radical shift in the way we talk, think and act on dementia will help to transform lives.”

Question: Why do you think England has "failed to keep pace" with dementia?