Inquiry into dementia treatment costs

An inquiry was launched yesterday into the spiralling costs of treating people with dementia.

MPs and peers on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia said they would be looking into how money could be better spent tackling the condition.

It is likely that the annual cost of treatment and care for sufferers will increase by a third from an estimated 20 billion at present to more than 27 billion by 2018, the committee warned.

It claimed that better early support could create cost savings further down the line.

Committee chairwoman Baroness Greengross said: "As the number of people with dementia rises, the financial burden will only increase.

"In this difficult economic climate, it's imperative that money is spent wisely.

"We know that it's possible to create cost savings and deliver better quality of care for people with dementia.

"We want people to share ideas and practical examples so that the NHS, local authorities and others can deliver the best care at the right price."

A report by the Alzheimer's Society last year concluded that at least 80m could be saved annually by enabling people with dementia to leave hospital a week earlier.

Local liaison services in Leeds and Doncaster are already pioneering ways to reduce hospital admissions and increase early discharge.

There is already a debate about the future of funding for those with expensive care needs, with one suggestion involving a one-off insurance payment made at retirement time.

That would remove the need for people to sell their home if their condition dictates they need to go into a nursing home for full-time care, though the suggestion has met with some resistance.