Time to ‘think differently’ about dementia

11 Jun 2018

Alzheimer’s Research UK recently commissioned a groundbreaking new report which models hypothetical treatments for alzheimer’s, the most common cause of dementia.The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), with advice from a clinical panel, have published ‘Thinking Differently: preparing today to implement future dementia treatments’. The report presents five speculative models of treatment, based on the current direction of research, as well as one using a treatment firmly expected to be available in the next five years.Sue Thomas, Chief Executive of Commissioning Excellence for Wilmington Healthcare, says, ‘It was a pleasure to be involved in the clinical advisory panel for this timely Alzheimer’s Research UK report. There are a range of new treatments on the horizon for dementia and this will seriously impact on our health service.’With between 310,000 and 750,000 people being eligible for treatment, and a projected cost of £420 million per year*, with another £100 million for diagnosis, the impact on health services and spending budgets is expected to be huge once treatment becomes available.Ms Thomas continues, ‘With a rising number of our population developing dementia, Government cannot afford to ignore the implications. The NHS tends to be reactive rather than proactive and this timely report could enable the NHS to get its house in order before these treatments arrive.They need to act now, not once they are here.’The report aims to kickstart discussions in both healthcare and policy before the treatments are ready. Hopefully, this will allow patients to access the much needed treatment as soon as it passes clinical trials. Ms Thomas’s final comment feels like a challenge to the NHS to think differently, not just about dementia, but about how it works and plans for the future.Actively moving to create space for these important discussions, Alzheimer’s Research UK have put together the Dementia Access Taskforce, a group formed by key individuals from the NHS, NICE, government and industry. Their mandate? To ‘think differently’ about the challenges ahead.To find out more, read the full report here, or go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org*depending on patient population size **within one treatment scenario

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