Dementia one of society’s ‘burning injustices’ as deaths from the condition increase

Posted on 12th October 2017

Dementia is one of society’s most ‘burning injustices’ according to Alzheimer’s Research UK, as new figures have revealed that dementia is now the biggest cause of death in Great Britain.

The UK’s leading dementia research charity is now calling for urgent action to defeat the condition – and has underlined the need for significant investment in research and backing from Government to achieve this.

The Office for National Statistics has published the latest figures for the causes of death in 2016 in England and Wales. This comes on the same day that Alzheimer’s Research UK launches two new interactive maps, which reveal the impact of dementia in individual constituencies across the UK.

According to the data, there were 525,048 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2016, a 0.9% decrease from 2015. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remained the leading cause of death in England and Wales, accounting for 12.0% of all deaths registered in 2016, up from 11.6% in 2015. There were 62,948 deaths from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease last year, compared to 61,686 in 2015. Together with figures from Scotland, where dementia and Alzheimer’s disease accounted for 9.8% of all deaths, the numbers show that the condition is now the biggest cause of death across Great Britain.

Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Prime Minister Theresa May wants to correct the burning injustices in modern society: the frightening figures today further reinforce that dementia is one of society’s most burning injustices, and defeating it must be a priority for her government. As well as being a leading cause of death, research has also shown that dementia is one of the key reasons for life expectancy increases slowing.

“There are currently 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and from the maps Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched today, it’s clear to see the overwhelming impact the condition is having across the UK. Dementia doesn’t just devastate the lives of people with the condition, it tears families apart and leaves a tail of destruction in its path, but this outlook can be changed through research.

“What makes dementia one of the greatest medical challenges of modern society is the fact that we still lack a life-changing treatment to offer those affected. To defeat dementia, we must invest in research and it is essential that the condition is a national priority. Dementia costs the UK more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined, but for too long, dementia research funding has lagged behind other serious health conditions. Despite welcome increases in funding there is still only one dementia researcher for every four working on cancer. We know we can bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak caused by dementia, but we need significant long-term investment in research to achieve this.”

Posted in Policy news