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Dementia Care

Volume 540: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2012

As many as four out of 10 people in hospital have dementia, and people with dementia stay longer in hospital. We know that there is much room for improvement. That is why we have set a new national goal for hospitals actively to identify people with dementia.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ report on dementia care in hospitals, only one in three staff said that they felt that their training and development in dementia was sufficient. What action is the Minister taking better to equip staff to be able to take care of dementia patients in future?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Training is certainly one of the issues highlighted by the audit. We are taking a number of steps. We are working with the Royal College of Nursing, which has developed an online dementia information resource; we have been working with Skills for Care and Skills for Health to provide a series of training workshops for staff; we have been working with Oxford Deanery to trial a new approach to dementia education and training for GPs; and we are funding another audit to make sure that we keep track of the improvements that we expect to see across the NHS.

What discussions has the Minister had with universities such as Queen’s university in Belfast with regard to new treatments and medication for those suffering from dementia, and when will those advances filter through to patients?

I have not had such conversations with the university to which the hon. Gentleman refers. However, this Government, right from their first Budget, have indicated their commitment to prioritising research into dementia—both the basic research that gives us the targets for detailed research and the translational research. We have put in place all the building blocks that will allow this country not only to maintain its pre-eminence but to accelerate the pace of research.