Thursday, January 19, 2023

Vicky McClure accuses government of ‘failing’ dementia patients

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The Line Of Duty star said the patients were “struggling and alone” after being diagnosed.

Meanwhile, a “deep staffing crisis” has left social workers “completely broken and exhausted,” she said.

McClure, also known for her roles in Latest Page NewsX’s Without Sin and This Is England, has delivered a letter to Downing Street urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak not to drop dementia from the political agenda.

She was also joined by former Strictly Come Dancing judge Dame Arlene Phillips and MPs Debbie Abrahams and Elliot Colburn from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia to submit the letter, which was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society charity.

The letter, which was also signed by 36,000 members of the public, calls on the government to honor the Conservative Party’s commitments on dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society said it was concerned the promises “fall by the wayside”.

McClure, co-founder of Our Dementia Choir and ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The government is failing people with dementia.

“I’ve seen this firsthand with members of my Our Dementia Choir who are struggling after a diagnosis and are left alone and unsure of where to get the support they so desperately need.

“Social workers they depend on are often broken and exhausted, trying to provide care while being overwhelmed, underpaid and underskilled.

“Those who care for people with dementia must be supported and not neglected in a deep staffing crisis.

“People with dementia and their carers need to get the basic care and support they need to live full lives – things like carer breaks, music therapy and support groups.

“We have heard many ambitious words about dementia from the government, but words must be turned into action. Rishi Sunak needs to make dementia a priority.”

Dame Arlene, who is also an ambassador for the charity, added: “The last government made a clear commitment to improve dementia research, diagnosis rates and care and now it falls to PM Rishi Sunak to deliver.

“Sadly, like thousands of families across the country, I have seen how much dementia can take while caring for my own father.

“People are distraught and alone with overworked caregivers having to choose between giving them a hot meal or a wash.

“This letter is loud and clear – honor those commitments and give those living with dementia across this country the care and support they deserve.”

Kate Lee, chief executive of the charity, said: “Awareness and support for dementia have come a long way since the disease entered my family 16 years ago – but there is still so much more to do.

“Too many people are still dealing with dementia alone and Rishi Sunak has a chance to seize this moment and truly transform dementia research, diagnosis and care for one of the UK’s greatest public health challenges.

“We have welcomed previous government pledges but we are concerned they are falling by the wayside.

“The renewed commitment to the National Dementia Mission to double spending on dementia research was an encouraging step, but we have yet to see concrete action while progress on the 10-year plan on dementia has stalled and reform of the social welfare was discontinued.

“When the government was asked for an update they told us ‘in due course’ 25 times which is not good enough – unfortunately dementia doesn’t wait for ‘in due course’. Quite simply, dementia is not a priority.

“Our letter to the Prime Minister is urging change — massive welfare reform, a visionary 10-year plan for dementia, and funding for the National Dementia Mission to unlock treatments for people now and in the future.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We want a society where every person with dementia, their families and carers receive quality, compassionate care from diagnosis to the end of life.

“We invested £17m last year in tackling dementia waiting lists and increasing diagnosis rates, and we have committed to doubling funding for dementia research to £160m a year by 2024/25.

“We are making available up to £7.5 billion over the next two years to support adult social care and discharge – the largest funding increase in history – and are boosting careers in care through our annual domestic and cross-recruitment campaign investing £15 million to increase international nurse recruitment.”

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