Oldham MP leads parliamentary inquiry into dementia

Date published: 03 December 2018

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams is overseeing a parliamentary inquiry by into dementia and disability in her role as co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on dementia.

Describing how the inquiry came about Mrs Abrahams, who was re-elected as co-chair of the APPG last week, said: “Following the APPG’s decision to hold an inquiry Alzheimer’s Society undertook a review of the existing evidence and put out a national call for evidence from researchers, charities and groups working with people living with dementia, as well as their carers.

"They then started visiting some of these groups of people to hear in more detail about their views and experiences. 

“This exercise provided a range of feedback on whether people identify dementia as a disability as well as unpicking the ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’ aspect of dementia as a disability. 

“The meetings revealed difficulties for people with dementia in accessing transport, accessing healthcare services, continuing in employment and participating in local leisure activities."

However, not all the feedback was negative and Mrs Abrahams, who has set making Oldham a dementia-friendly community as one of her top priorities, added: “We were really pleased to hear that many people have continued to feel like they’re supported in their community and that’s something I’ve been working hard on in Oldham where we’ve already seen over 4,000 people sign up as Dementia Friends. 

“Our inquiry has received nearly 3,000 evidence responses from individuals and organisations and we are currently in the process of analysing the responses with a view to publishing a report in the New Year.

“The report will address what people think about dementia as a disability, what barriers people affected by dementia face in society and what can be done to make sure people with dementia are treated equally. 

“Crucially, we will be setting out our recommendations for change but we won’t stop there.

"As an APPG, we are committed to driving forward this change and will ensure that actions are taken to reflect the recommendations within the report.

“I’m determined that such an extensive evidence base will bring about tangible local and national change that will vastly improve the quality of life for anyone in the UK who is diagnosed with dementia.”

Meanwhile, in what was a busy week of dementia-related events, Mrs Abrahams also spoke at a symposium, in her role as co-chair of the APPG, titled: Improving the experience of Dementia and Enhancing Active Life (IDEAL). 

The event showcased the latest evidence on living well with dementia from the IDEAL programme.

The aim is to agree pragmatic goals and actions based on the evidence to help realise the ambition for a society where people affected by dementia are able to live well.

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