We are absolutely committed to making this the best country in the world in which to live with dementia by 2020. Already, more than two thirds of people with dementia receive a diagnosis; there are 2.85 million dementia friends and 346 areas in England that are dementia friendly; and the £250 million dementia discovery fund is the largest venture fund in the world aimed at discovering and developing therapies for dementia.
I thank the Minister for her reply. I recently met representatives of the Alzheimer’s Society, which is, as the Minister will know, pushing forward with a campaign for more support for those suffering from dementia. Can she assure me that, despite what she has just said, this will be one of the main focuses of her Department during the comprehensive spending review?
We are absolutely committed to ensuring that everybody, including those who live with dementia, has access to the care and support that they need. We have noted the very important contributions of the Alzheimer’s Society and of a number of other reports. We are considering a number of different funding options and are keen to draw on the best practice of what works so that no one ends up spending their life savings on their care.
My friend and constituent, Malcolm Haigh, who is known locally as Mr History because of his forensic knowledge of the history of Batley and Spen, is now living with dementia. We know that social prescribing for dementia sufferers really does work, and I congratulate Kirklees Council for its innovative Community Plus scheme, which uses social prescribing for dementia. Can the Minister tell us what auditing is going on that will look at the community groups that are offering these singing clubs and walking and cycling groups, and how we audit them in order to make the best of social prescribing so that we take the burden off the NHS?
Mr History sounds fabulous. There will be a new academy of social prescribing, which will look at some of the incredibly valuable work done by communities up and down the country and really be able to draw out some of that best-value analysis.