Financial News

  • 1 March 2014, 5:47

Dementia: Shop Staff Will Train To Spot Illness

More than 190,000 high street staff will be trained to spot the signs of dementia under a raft of new measures to help people with the condition.

Workers at Marks & Spencer, Argos, Homebase, Lloyds Bank and Lloyds Pharmacy will become "dementia friends" to provide better support for sufferers.

An estimated 800,000 people have already been diagnosed with dementia, but experts expect this figure to soar to 1.7 million by 2051.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the new package of care would make the UK a world leader in fighting the illness, which he described as "horrific and heartbreaking".

"(This) is about government, clinicians, business, society and investors coming together to raise our game on every front - from speedy diagnosis to compassionate care, and from help on our high streets to the quest for a cure," he said.

NHS England is to invest 90m in an attempt to diagnose two-thirds of people with dementia by March next year, targeting areas where it can take up to 25 weeks to carry out a diagnosis.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, one in three people aged over 65 will develop the condition, and two-thirds of sufferers are women.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the charity, said: "(This) is a positive step forward to increasing diagnosis rates and ensuring that no matter where you live you will receive a timely assessment.

"Too often we hear about a lack of suitable services available to people with dementia and their carers.

"We welcome the focus on post-diagnosis support which will provide a vital lifeline to thousands who are currently left in the dark, with nowhere to turn for advice or support."

David Cameron has appointed a World Dementia Envoy following agreement between the G8 countries at a dementia summit in London in December.

The Prime Minister has called for international collaboration to urgently find a cure for the condition.

However, Labour warned the Government must tackle "poor care standards" in order to combat dementia.

Liz Kendall, the shadow minister for care and older people, said: "If his words are to have real meaning, Mr Cameron must do far more to help people struggling to cope with dementia right now.

"2.7bn has been cut from council care budgets under this Government, hitting the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of people with dementia and their families."

She added: "The Prime Minister cannot credibly claim to show leadership on dementia unless he tackles poor care standards, like the increasing number of 15-minute home visits which are barely enough time to make a cup of tea, let alone help a frail elderly person with dementia get up, washed, dressed and fed."

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