The UK is hosting a G8 summit on dementia which aims to develop co-ordinated global action on the disease
Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, who opened the summit, said: ''One in three of us will get dementia, if we don't do better, for one in three those later years will be years of agony, heartbreak and despair.''
New statistics published last week revealed a sharp rise in the number of people living with dementia globally. Some 44 million people now have the condition with the number set to soar to 76 million by 2030. With an ageing population, dementia is soon to become the biggest burden on healthcare systems around the world.
''Here in the UK the cost of dementia is 23 billion pounds and globally it's approaching 600 billion dollars,'' Hunt said.
The event hopes to secure a more coordinated and collaborative approach to the development of new dementia treatments and therapies. The summit agenda will address key issues, such as how national policies can help boost the discovery and development of new drugs.
''So let us focus on three areas of action for this summit. First to redouble our efforts to find a drug that can halt or cure the brain decay caused by dementia. We thought we could never combat HIV but just nine years after the Gleneagles summit and the involvement of some of our best universities we're talking about a potential vaccine,'' continued Hunt.
The health secretary said improvement in diagnosis rates was vital: ''Secondly we need to improve diagnosis rates. In this country despite out brilliant NHS less than half of dementia patients get a diagnosis.''
The G8 summit comes as the UK's health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission(CQC) announced a national review of dementia care. Inspectors will visit 150 care homes and hospitals in England.