Annual UK Dementia Costs Reaches £26 Billion
A new report published by the Alzheimer’s Society has found that the cost of dementia in the UK has now surpassed £26 billion a year.
The review by the London School of Economics and King’s College London, of dementia across the UK, found that the bulk of the costs associated with dementia are “unfairly” shouldered by patients, their carers and their families.
Roughly two-thirds of the related costs for dementia are absorbed by patients and carers, including a £5.8 billion social care bill for help with everyday tasks, such as washing and dressing. In addition, the 1.3 billion hours of unpaid care provided by carers would otherwise cost the state £11.6 billion.
Dementia diagnosis and treatment already costs the NHS £4.3 billion, with local authorities funding an additional £4.5 billion, but these figures are expected to continue to grow as the number of people affected by Dementia increases.
By 2015, 850,000 people will have dementia. In comparison by 2051, over two million people are expected to have the condition.
In separate report by the Alzheimer’s charity which surveyed 1,000 patients with the disease, 61% of patients said they had felt anxious or depressed recently, while 43% of those being cared for noted that their carers receive no help.
The chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, Jeremy Hughes, commented that the results of the report highlight the “staggering financial and human impact” of the condition, arguing that it is unfair that families are forced to “break the bank” to look after dementia patients while those suffering from other illnesses get their care for free.
“These spiralling costs cannot continue unchecked…we need radical solutions and serious funding commitments to put social care on a sustainable footing,” he added.
The charity also called for a successor to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on dementia, which will end in just over six months, and suggested that the successor should prioritise: a 66% dementia diagnosis rate across all areas; a 12-week limit on first GP visit to diagnosis; and access to a Dementia Adviser on diagnosis for all patients.