Tuesday, 27 March 2012


I felt sorry for Alzheimer’s UK yesterday. A major statement from Government highlighting the issue and announcing more support for research was overshadowed by dinner party guests row. So alzheimers certainly got lots of publicity, their logo prominent by the PM's head but the bit of the speech quoted was about his guests.

A similar thing happened to me when I spoke at the launch of the Open Public Services White Paper last year. All of the questions to the PM we about Andy Coulson and the entire White paper was ignored and no press the next day. Such is the ephemeral nature of our media.

The challenge of an ageing society is still not fully realised. We know that the majority of people in hospital beds are over 65 but do nothing about reforming the social care system. We know that councils have been cutting back on services for the elderly and for dementia. We know the amount of sport given to frail elderly in the home is abysmal. And yet the Dilnot report sits in Andrew Lansley's pending tray.

There are large numbers of third sector organisations, from the Red Cross , WRVS and AgeUK to local community groups who could provide the care and support older people need in their homes. Yet the NHS and local councils don't fund them. We could use significantly more volunteers if we had the resource to manage and supervise them.

So the statements by the PM yesterday were very much welcomed. And what media there was turned out well. But this issue needs more publicity. And ultimately proper funding

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