First Women’s Health Strategy for England sets welcomed ambition for dementia

20 July 2022

Alzheimer’s Research UK welcomes the publication of the first ever government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England, following the charity’s calls for action to tackle dementia’s disproportionate impact on women.

The Strategy, which sets ambitions to tackle deep rooted, systemic issues within the health and care system to improve the health and wellbeing of women, commits to improving the number of women participating in dementia research, and growing awareness of dementia risk factors that may help reduce the number of women living with dementia in the future.

Earlier this year, the charity published an analysis, The Impact of Dementia on Women, which highlighted how women are disproportionately affected by dementia across their lives and what needs to change.

David Thomas, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We welcome that, among a number of helpful actions to tackle the gender health gap, there is recognition in this Strategy of the disproportionate impact of dementia on women. It’s really positive to see an ambition to ensure greater numbers of women are participating in dementia research and greater public awareness of dementia risk factors.

“Setting out a clear plan for how these ambitions will be delivered must be a key feature of the forthcoming new 10-Year Dementia Plan. Now is the time to address the disproportionate impact of dementia on women, and these strategies are a key opportunity to avoid these inequalities continuing unchecked.

“Over a decade ago, dementia became the leading cause of death for women, and in the years since, it has sadly not moved from this top spot – even at the height of the pandemic. Women are more likely than men to develop dementia. In fact, women over 60 are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as they are to develop breast cancer during the rest of their lifetime.

“The Strategy includes key commitments around new research and data gathering – this is particularly important to dementia research, as women are currently less likely to be eligible to take part in clinical trials. Life-changing new treatments need to work for everyone with dementia, but if research is relying on data from just one half of the population, we will miss crucial parts of the full picture.”