When my dad's memory started to worsen, we turned to Alzheimer's Society - Jeremy Hunt

Posted On: 
1st December 2017

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, praised the work of Alzheimer’s Society which he said was ‘moving the needle on dementia and Alzheimer’s.’

Jeremy Hunt presents the Inspiring Individual award to Wendy Mitchell, Alzheimer's Society Ambassador.
Credit: 
Alzheimer's Society

Jeremy Hunt praised the work of Alzheimer’s Society and its partners during a speech given at the fourth Dementia Friendly Awards held at Country Hall in London.

Presenting the Inspiring Individual award, he revealed to the packed audience that at the time he became Health Secretary, his father’s memory started to worsen.

“This was the time when David Cameron said he really wanted to focus on dementia, and it wasn’t hard for me to be very enthusiastic. I was very keen to understand more about the condition.”

He continued, “I particularly want to thank Alzheimer’s Society. My local Alzheimer’s Society were the only people we could go to for advice. We went through that whole scary process that families up and down the country are going through when they are coming to terms with a profound change in their family circumstances.”

The Secretary of State paid tribute to Alzheimer’s Society and its partners for their work in creating 2.3 million dementia friends, and 300 dementia friendly communities around the country. He also took the opportunity to outline the Government’s commitment to ensure every Government department, and many other Government funded organisations will be dementia friendly by 2020.

Mr Hunt also highlighted that there was much more awareness of dementia in the NHS, and that 100,000 NHS staff had been trained on dementia awareness through a wide-scale training programme, but recognised that there was still a lot more work to do.

“I think the quality of the care you get post-diagnosis is still patchy. There are parts of the country where it is excellent, but that is also exposing parts of the country where it isn’t as good as it should be.”

He also conceded that there were ‘profound pressures’ on the social care system which was impacting on those living with dementia, but committed to finding more money to improve services for dementia sufferers and their carers

“My absolute commitment is that as the economy gets stronger, we can find more resources for both the NHS and the social care system, because we want to have nothing less than the safest, highest quality, most compassionate health care system in the world. We are on that journey, but we are not there yet.”

The Secretary of State went on to praise the ‘incredible courage’ of people living with dementia who were prepared to get up and talk openly about living with the illness.

“This is tearing down the taboo… and is really transforming the way we talk about dementia, but is also improving possibilities for people living with dementia to live normal, independent lives for much longer than would otherwise have been possible.”

The Dementia Friendly Awards were set up to recognise the outstanding contributions of communities, organisations and individuals who are working to help those living with dementia.