Dementia care boost from improved GP support and funding

Improved support for GPs and up to £35m in new funding for research will form part of the DoH's 'route map' to improve dementia care in England.

The route map sets out a series of actions to address issues identified by a group representing government, universities, charities, industry and organisations in the dementia research community.

In a report accompanying the map, the DoH said it would work with the RCGP and other colleges to develop evidenced-based decision-support tools. This work is to begin with the development of a dementia e-resource for GPs.

GPs will also be the focus of plans to speed the implementation of research findings out into clinical practice through training and differentiated communications, the report said.

As part of the plans, the Medical Research Council will increase funding for neurodegeneration research by 10% to £150m over the next four years to 2015. An ‘asset map’ will also identify areas of opportunity for public-private partnerships to help boost research.

The DoH has pledged up to £20m over five years for four new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) research units. Part of the work of these units will be to facilitate research in the care home sector, by developing networks, clarifying funding and encouraging harmonisation of record keeping.

The DoH has also said that research would be promoted through ‘system incentives’, with explicit links to outcomes, will be established. These will help to strengthen the alignment of research and care pathways, especially in primary and social care, it says.

‘The ultimate aim is for patients and their carers to be more routinely offered the opportunity to participate in research by core clinical and care staff in all areas of England,’ the report said.

Professor Clive Ballard, director of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the plans provided ‘the opportunity of a generation to not only transform the face of dementia research but also to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people with dementia’.

‘Without research we cannot improve care, develop treatments or move closer to a cure so it is great to see action being taken to put dementia on the right path,’ he said.

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