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There are an estimated 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. By 2040, the number of people with the condition is expected to double.

The UK Government has set an objective for England to be a world leader in fighting dementia and has committed to improving diagnosis, care and support, and research.

The Challenge on Dementia 2020, published in February 2015, sets out what the UK Government wants to see in place by 2020 in order for England to be:

  • the best country in the world for dementia care and support and for people with dementia, their carers and families to live
  • the best place in the world to undertake research into dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases

Some of the key objectives of the Challenge are:

  • Equal access to diagnosis for everyone
  • GPs playing a lead role in ensuring coordination and continuity of care for people with dementia
  • Every person diagnosed with dementia having meaningful care following their diagnosis
  • All NHS staff having received training on dementia appropriate to their role.

In February 2019, the Government published  Dementia 2020 challenge: 2018 review phase 1. This review reflects on what has been achieved so far and what more needs to be done to meet its objectives. The NHS Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019, also commits the NHS in England to continuing to improve the care provided to people with dementia and their carers.

This Library briefing provides an overview of dementia prevalence and diagnosis, as well as statistics on current rates and expected rises of dementia prevalence. It outlines UK Government policy over the last 10 years and considers recent developments such as the publication of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dementia report Hidden no more: Dementia and disability in June 2019, and Fix Dementia Care, published by the Alzheimer’s Society in May 2019.

This briefing also outlines guidance on health and social care services for people with dementia, and covers the development of the Dementia Discovery Fund and the Dementia Research Institute.

Health and social care are devolved matters, and so each of the devolved administrations are largely responsible for setting their own dementia policies. While this Library briefing focuses on policies in England, dementia strategies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are briefly outlined in section 5.

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