Posted on December 09, 2013

Budget cuts lead to an increase in dementia A&E visits

It has been revealed that budget cuts have seen record numbers of dementia patients arriving in A&E over the last year. It is estimated that around 220,000 patients were treated in hospital as a result of cuts in social care budgets, which left them without the means to get care elsewhere.  The government has cut £1.8 billion from social care budgets, which is in addition to the pressure being applied to GP surgeries.  In 2008 the number of dementia patients arriving in A&E was just over 133,000. As the number of dementia sufferers rises, this problem is set to get worse.  A G8 summit is to be held in London this week, which will be attended by the prime minister, and dementia care is set to be high on the agenda.  Predictions are that the number of dementia sufferers worldwide is set to triple by 2050. There are calls from other political parties to spend more money on dementia care and research rather than make cuts; in addition, the director of external affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, Dr Alison Cook, has stated that hospitals can be an unsettling environment for dementia sufferers and that it is far better for them to receive care in the community. The society has also stated that when hospital care is required for those with dementia, the standard of care is simply not good enough; it estimate that the mortality rate for those with the condition is one-third higher than is acceptable.  British newspapers are campaigning for reforms to the care system for dementia sufferers, including review boards, a better complaints system and additional training for staff.
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