Dementia ‘Will Strike Down A Million In UK’

Dementia will strike down almost a million people in England within a generation and the cost of treating them will soar to £35 billion per year, a major study has disclosed.

The document, drawn up by experts in ageing and health for the King’s Fund think-tank, highlights the huge burden the disease will place on the state.

It estimates that the number of people suffering from dementia – which includes several brain and body-wasting conditions – will rise more than 60 per cent by 2026, from 582,827 to 937,636. However, that is dwarfed by the 135 per cent rise in the predicted total care bill, from £14.8 billion to £34.8 billion.

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence has been criticised for advising that Alzheimer’s drugs are given only to those in the “moderate” phase of the disease, even though earlier treatment may help slow its progress. Prescribing drugs to more people aged between 65 and 84 could be cost-effective because it would save around £2.4 billion in care costs, the report states.

Andrew Ketteringham, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “The projected growth is huge. Every family in the country will have someone with dementia.”