In Parliament this morning, Daniel Zeichner MP called on the Government to increase its funding of research into dementia to 1% of the total societal cost of the disease – up from the 0.3% which is currently invested.
Mr Zeichner highlighted the impact of cuts to social care, as well as calling for more investment in research.
“It seems hard to deny that we have a crisis in social care. Local authority budgets have been cut by 49.1% since 2010, resulting in £7 billion being lost from adult social care, and a further £1.3 billion will be cut in 2019-20. This has actively worsened the lives of those living with dementia, and is frankly a crisis that the Government continue to ignore.“
Mr Zeichner went on to explain that new treatments could ease the pressure on local authorities and social care:
“Alzheimer’s Research UK have been campaigning for more money to be invested into research so that we can really change the lives of those who have dementia with new treatments; as we all know, research has revolutionised the way in which we treat, cure and prevent diseases like cancer – there’s no reason that this can’t be the case for brain diseases like dementia. New treatments would also ease pressure on both our healthcare and social care services, improving lives and saving public service resources.“
The MP also highlighted the research taking place in Cambridge and its impact: “When we do invest in dementia research, look at what we can achieve. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Drug Discovery Institute in Cambridge couples the deep disease knowledge and biology expertise of the academic community with high quality, innovative drug discovery technologies. There have been over 100,000 combined hours committed to drug discovery by 30 new staff. The Institute is currently investigating 10 new potential drug targets in their own work or through collaborations, has generated 12 new internal collaborations at the University of Cambridge, and has attracted 9 new partners from both private and academic sectors.“
The MP for Cambridge comments: “Alzheimer’s Research UK and other dementia charities are doing their best with limited resources, but without more Government funding into dementia treatments, they cannot explore all the emerging fields available to us. An increase in research funding to just 1% of the total cost of Alzheimer’s to society would unlock the resources needed to really cement the UK as the world leader in dementia research, and make real breakthroughs – improving the lives of dementia patients and their carers and loved ones.“