OPINION

We must do more than go through the motions to tackle dementia

Posted On 09 Apr 2022 at 12:05 am

A motion about dementia was debated at the Brighton and Hove City Council meeting on Thursday night.

It noted a number of details, opinions and measures – and I wanted to do my own research on the data cited in support of the motion.

I was disappointed to see that the “Dementia Connect Brighton and Hove” web page on the Alzheimer’s Society website was blocked on the council’s IT equipment.

I also found that the Brighton and Hove Living Well with Dementia web page on the Mind website referred readers to the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website.

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When I clicked on the link, I then found that the Sussex Partnership web page was not accessible to the public.

Elsewhere, if you are worried about your memory, the council website advised you to speak to your GP.

The Brighton and Hove Memory Assessment Service’s website, accessed through the council’s website, noted that patient care was being withheld until it was safe to deliver full diagnostic testing.

An Impact Initiatives webpage, last updated on Friday 27 November 2020, noted: “There are over 1,800 people diagnosed with dementia living in the city and there may be many more undiagnosed or displaying symptoms.”

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This page is where my colleagues got some of their data from although, unlike them, this page did not use the words “will rise very significantly”.

A Brighton and Hove News report published on Tuesday 25 January 2022 noted: “The prevalence among people of all ages across Brighton and Hove was 0.55 per cent in 2020-21.”

I make that some 1,595 diagnosed cases – and we have strong grounds to believe that the coronavirus pandemic has prevented tens of thousands of people from getting an all-important dementia diagnosis

The pandemic has also taught us that we need a more active state, one that is capable of mounting a vaccination programme.

The government is investing £375 million for neurodegenerative disease research – including for dementia – over the next five years

Some of the research is being carried out by the Centre for Dementia Studies at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

The motion debated at Hove Town Hall on Thursday was a pious but empty gesture of no real benefit to the residents of Brighton and Hove. At best, it might reassure them that their councillors are compassionate.

One in three people born today are expected to develop dementia in their lifetimes so this is a very serious matter.

It is for them that we voted in favour of the motion. But please, let’s get our own house in order first!

Supporting people with dementia is not just a health and social care issue – and needs more than warm words.

Appropriate housing, with a range of care and support, is key to supporting people with dementia and their carers.

And to ensure that people with dementia have access to the housing options that are right for them, we need this council to deliver more accessible homes for our communities and maintain our existing stock to appropriate standards.

Councillor Samer Bagaeen speaks for the Conservatives on the Health and Wellbeing Board on Brighton and Hove City Council.

  1. Gareth Hall Reply

    Sounds like a government problem not a council problem but as always Tory councillors in their typical disingenuous fashion try to throw dirt at their council colleagues

  2. Sarah Cook Reply

    Cllr Bagaeen seems to only write about national issues. It appears he is manuvering himself as a candidate in the next parliament election. Watch out Cllr Nemeth!

    • Bel Reply

      It may be worth re-reading what he has written. Much of it is about the local response, including by those working in the fields of health and education, to a real problem that affects many families locally including one of my in-laws.
      The council and the local NHS have duties in law, but they often fall short, and the resulting human suffering is real. In this case, some councillors (presumably Green and Labour) appear to be virtue-signalling, rather than addressing the matters within their sphere of influence.
      You criticise the author for writing about national issues, but so many Green and Labour motions I read about are about national issues.
      Personally, I may not necessarily agree with the author, but I am interested in what reads like a measured and thoughtful take on the subject. He even talks positively about an active state, seemingly at odds with the small state aims of the likes of Cameron and Osborne.
      There’s a name for it when you make these slapdash claims about people before weighing up the evidence. It’s called prejudice (or prejudging). It has no place in civilised and intelligent discourse.

  3. Kit Reply

    I watched the webcast of this meeting. Mostly, it was unedifying. I’m not a huge fan of the Tories, especially the dishonesty and dissembling in Downing Street, but this Councillor talks a lot more sense than most Councillors, of any party, on this and other subjects. I doubt he’s right about everything, and that’s true of most of us, I suspect, but at least he appears to put some thought into what he has to say, rather than churning out the mindless waffle that emanates from too many Councillors and Officers.

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