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Warning over dementia funding

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Councils risk losing their share of the government’s£150m dementia strategy cash pot if they fail to move quickly enough to identify gaps in local services.

The funding boost announced last week is part of a 17-point plan to improve early detection of the condition and improve the quality of life of the nation’s 700,000 suffers over the next five years.

But the cash will go straight to primary care trusts, which must decide with social services departments what government objectives - such as better GP training or hiring dementia care and support advisers - to prioritise.

Anne McDonald, the Local Government Association’s programme director for community wellbeing, said because dementia services differed from area to area councils needed to be clear about local shortcomings, or else there was a danger that PCT services would win out.

“Some places will need to go right back to the drawing board to see if their services match the picture the Department of Health [DoH] has set out,” she said.

“The key thing is to get in early with your PCT so that when the money comes, you’ve got some plans of how to spend it.”

According to the DoH, the number of people with dementia is set to double to 1.4 million over the next 30 years, with the cost to the NHS and wider economy trebling to more than£50bn a year.

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