Local MP, Huw Merriman, met up with Alzheimer’s Research UK in Parliament on Wednesday 6 September to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.
The charity, which is dedicated to funding research to better understand, diagnose, and, ultimately, cure dementia, has recently published data showing that nearly 2,500 people in the Bexhill and Battle constituency are currently living with the disease. Their research also shows that the constituency has the second highest number of residents living with Alzheimer’s of all Parliamentary constituencies in the UK.
Speaking after the event, Mr Merriman said:
“I am grateful to Alzheimer’s Research UK for coming to Parliament to mark World Alzheimer’s Month and to discuss the vital work that they are involved in.
“Those living with dementia face the fear of an uncertain future, whilst their family and friends experience their loved ones slipping away. With dementia now the leading cause of death in the UK, and with an estimated one million people expected to be living with the disease by 2025, research is critical to understanding this cruel disease, improving diagnosis, and achieving better outcomes for sufferers and their loved ones. It is ever more important that it remains on the agenda.”
Improvements to diagnosis is something that Huw has supported locally. He has previously met with Dr Stephen French to discuss the pioneering Bexhill-based memory assessment service which is supporting patients with dementia across the constituency and the wider East Sussex coast. As a community-based service, anybody who presents with a memory problem will be seen by their local GP in the first instance. After they have gone through other causes of memory loss, such as depression or circulatory disease, they will be referred to a local dementia specialist for a full assessment, at a GP close to their home.
This service has proven to be transformative with those who are already worried about memory loss being able to go into a setting with which they are more familiar, and which is less intimidating than having to go to a hospital or mental health hospital where such tests can often take place. This has had the effect of encouraging more people to take up the offer and attend the test.
Last year, in memory of the late Dame Barbara Windsor, the Government launched the Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission to tackle dementia. An additional £95 million in ringfenced funding is going to help boost the number of clinical trials and innovative research projects into dementia. This investment will see dementia research funding doubled by 2024, reaching a total of £160 million a year.