AM Urges Public to Help Shape Dementia Services

Wrexham’s Assembly Member is urging members of the public to help shape how dementia services will be delivered in Wales in the future, by taking part in a current consultation exercise around a new national action plan.

Lesley Griffiths AM, made her call as the deadline for submissions approaches, on how services for people suffering from dementia, will develop in the future.

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 37,000 people with dementia in Wales. This is set to rise by 35% over the next 20 years with one in three people over 65 expected to die with a form of dementia.

In response to this sharp increase in predicted numbers of sufferers, in October 2008, the Welsh Assembly Government established a Task and Finish Group to oversee the development of a National Dementia Plan for Wales.

The Group was chaired by Ian Thomas, Director of the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales and brought together health professionals and experts.

In June this year, the resultant National Dementia Action Plan for Wales was published by the Group and is out to consultation with the public until for only a few more weeks.

Commenting on the Action Plan, Lesley Griffiths AM said:

“The development of services for people suffering from dementia is a priority for the Government. This Plan is essential if Wales is to meet the huge challenge that dementia will bring over the coming years – not just in terms of paying for services but also in terms of organising services and getting the right infrastructure in place.

“There will be a rapidly growing need for dementia care right across Wales in future years. In Wrexham, for example, it is anticipated that the number of sufferers aged over 75 years old, will increase by a staggering 60% by the year 2021. This tells us why we need this Plan in place now.

“The Plan addresses the needs of individual sufferers, as well as recognition of the role and support for carers. It also looks at housing issues, the use of telecare and assistive technology, improving dementia care in the home and appropriate end of life care for sufferers.

“Caring for those with dementia will be a challenge for all of society in the future. Therefore, this Plan is an important first step in ensuring we can have the right services in place. That is why I hope as many people as possible, have their input into what is being proposed.”

For more information on the National Dementia Action Plan for Wales, please visit the Welsh Assembly Government website on: www.wales.gov.uk or email: MentalHealthPolicyMailbox@wales.gsi.gov.uk

The consultation period ends on Friday, 11 September 2009.