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21st October 2014

BBC1 Wales documentary tonight: Prioritise dementia care to take strain off the NHS, call from geriatrics professor

A documentary on dementia care in Wales, to be screened on BBC1 Wales tonight, will carry a warning that the NHS in Wales will grind to a halt unless more is done to help care for dementia patients in the community.

In the programme 'Who will care for mum, dad or me?', Cardiff University Professor of Geriatrics Anthony Bayer says that with one in three people dying with dementia today, it’s already posing a challenge to society and a lack of support means too many patients are ending up in hospital.

"One in four people in district general hospital beds have dementia," Professor Bayer told the Week In Week Out programme makers.

"If you actually shifted more resource into the community then you could stop a lot of these unnecessary admissions, and if people did go into hospital you could get them home much more quickly.

"Ultimately it’s going to save money, but you have to actually shift the resources first and the savings will come later. If we don’t do anything then the whole system is going to grind to a halt," he added.

Age Cymru calls for dementia to be a national priority in Wales

Age Cymru Wales' chief executive, Ian Thomas, says that with around 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales and the numbers continuing to rise year on year, dementia needs to be a national priority for Wales.

Mr Thomas was commissioned to write a report in 2011 for the Welsh Government, A National Dementia Vision for Wales, on how to tackle the issue of growing numbers of people with dementia. However he says the strategy which "would have made a monumental difference to people's lives" has not been fully implemented by the Welsh Government. "It [the plan] would have given us better services - it would have given us more joined-up thinking and put dementia as a national issue and a national priority," said Mr Thomas.

"Dementia needs to be a national priority for Wales," says Mr Thomas, who also appears in the Week In, Week Out BBC Wales documentary about dementia tonight (October 21).

“With 45,000 people in Wales living with dementia, and that number set to rise on average by 35% over the next 20 years, dementia remains one of the key challenges for the government and people of Wales."   




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