The first-ever national dementia strategy, intended to transform the care of the rising number of sufferers and their families, was launched by the government yesterday with funding of £150m and the promise of a string of memory clinics and advisors across the country.
But while the much-delayed strategy was welcomed by many in the field, it was criticised for failing to deliver on two crucial issues – research into the causes and potential treatments of dementia and the drugging of elderly people in care homes. A review of antipsychotic drugs – the so-called "chemical cosh" used in care homes to sedate people whose dementia makes them angry or distressed – has been postponed until the spring.
"This strategy is only the first step to tackling our dementia crisis, and it is a huge let-down that so much has been left out," said Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust.
"It is astonishing that dementia research is not a fundamental component of this strategy, and disappointing that the review of antipsychotic drugs has been delayed yet again," she added.
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