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Dementia care reform delays costing patients £15bn, report finds

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People living with dementia have spent almost £15bn of their own money on social care since the government promised to publish its Social Care Green Paper two years ago.

New analysis by Alzheimer’s Society reveals that people affected by the disease have forked out £14.5bn on care, compared to less than £10bn by the government.

Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “’This shocking sum of money spent by people with dementia over the last two years trying to get access to the care and support they desperately need is utterly unacceptable.

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“And the amount and quality of care they’re getting for it – those who can afford it – just isn’t good enough. The results are people with dementia and their families falling victim to this dreadfully broken system.”

Alzheimer’s Society’s analysis builds on a damning picture supported by a number of emerging reports including the new ADASS budget survey, and Healthwatch dementia care review report.

The organisation, which said the dementia crisis has reached “absolute breaking point”, also found that dementia patients have spent more than 1 million unnecessary days in hospital since March 2017, despite being well enough to go home, at a cost to the NHS of over £340 million.

In the two year period, the total number of people over 65 diagnosed with dementia has increased by 33,000 in England, adding to all those struggling to get the dementia care they need.

Alzheimer’s Society organised a photo exhibition of 12 families in Parliament yesterday, exposing the reality that families affected by dementia across the country face.

Stories include a woman who has had to ask passers-by to come into her house to help her lift her husband off the floor, and a woman who couldn’t leave hospital because she still didn’t have a care assessment after a year of waiting.

“We need an immediate cash injection through a dedicated Dementia Fund, while the Government works out a long term solution to finally end this crisis in care. With diagnosis rates of dementia at an all-time high, action can’t come soon enough,” said Hughes.

Alzheimer’s Society is calling for urgent investment in a dedicated £2.4bn Dementia Fund to end the dementia penalty people face when paying for care.

The organisation recommends that the money for the fund should come from the so far unallocated funding of £3.5bn for community care attached to the NHS Long-Term Plan.

Since the announcement of the social care Green Paper in March 2017, there have been six delays to its release. The document is promised to lay out a long term funding solution for the social care crisis, but there is still no sign of when it is due to be published.

Sarah Clarke

The author Sarah Clarke

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