Scotland

Scotland's first dementia strategy begins

elderly patients
Image caption The number of people with dementia is set to double in the next 25 years

Scotland's first strategy for dealing with dementia is being launched on Tuesday.

It aims to put in place new national care standards and commits the Scottish government to continuing support for dementia research.

The strategy will lay out specific actions to improve the care and treatment of people with dementia.

It will focus particularly on getting better hospital care, and giving more support after diagnosis.

About 71,000 people in Scotland have dementia and the number is expected to double over the next 25 years.

It is estimated that the illness costs health services £1.7bn a year.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said: "This strategy - Scotland's first - is desperately needed.

"The strategy will commit the Scottish government to developing and implementing new standards of care for people with dementia.

"These will be implemented across the board in both health and social care and we want them to lead to a new era of respect, dignity and self-determination for people with dementia."

Ms Robison added: "People with dementia must not only ensure the very best clinical care but must be treated with respect and dignity at all times, and these standards will enshrine our belief that this has to happen for every patient, every time."

Alzheimer Scotland welcomed the Scottish government's national strategy, and said the charity believed it was a significant step forward in tackling many of the difficulties experienced by people with dementia and their families.

Chief executive Henry Simmons said: "This strategy is a strong start - now is the time for real action on dementia.

"We must ensure that health and social care professionals, mainstream local services and communities across Scotland understand dementia and are encouraged to play a part in making a difference in the lives of people with the illness."

But he added: "It is unfortunate that it is only now, in such an uncertain economic climate, that dementia is receiving the necessary level of government priority."

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