Alzheimer's Disease

We should all be able to look forward to dignified care in old age and with an ageing population, this is one of the biggest challenges our country faces. I support the Government's commitment to making sure that the most vulnerable in society gain the support they need and it is important to note that over 4 out of 5 people receive care from good and outstanding organisations. I entirely appreciate, however, that more needs to be done to tackle this serious challenge.
The Government is currently producing a Social Care Green Paper, which will consider a range of options to ensure our social care system is able to meet the needs of our ageing society and is placed on a sustainable footing for the long term. Since 2015 local authorities have had greater flexibility over the use of the council tax social care precept, so they can choose to raise extra money, as well as retain savings from the New Homes Bonus, totalling £240 million.
In October, an extra £240 million funding was also announced for adult social care this winter to help local authorities reduce pressures on the NHS. The recent Budget also announced an additional £650 million for social care in 2019-20 including: £240 million to make sure people can leave hospital when they are ready and go into the right care setting to meet their needs; as well as £410 million to improve local councils care offer for older people, people with disabilities and children. Therefore, in total, the Government has given councils access to up to £10.29 billion more dedicated funding for social care over the three years up to 2019-20.
Money alone, however, will not fix the problem and reform is needed to encourage high standards across the whole country. It is vital for us to consider ways of better joining up health and care services, and I am encouraged by the use of the Better Care Fund to assist local government and the NHS with the implementation of integrated health and care services. 
I can assure you that supporting those who suffer from dementia is a priority for the Government. In 2015, the Challenge on Dementia 2020 was launched and I know that the Government remains committed to delivering this. This sets out the vision for dementia care, support, awareness, and research to be transformed by 2020. Indeed, I fully support the ambition to ensure England offers the world's best dementia care.
Research is crucial to understanding and tackling dementia, which is why I am glad that the Government has doubled research spending on dementia and remains committed to maintaining the current expenditure on dementia research of at least £60 million a year through to 2020. I am encouraged that over £83 million was spent on dementia research by the Government in 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available, well in excess of the £60 million target.
The Government is integrating and improving health and social care to protect people at every stage of their lives. The Green Paper will therefore outline a social care policy which is integrated with the NHS. To this end, I am encouraged by the establishment of the Department of Health and Social Care last year, which will oversee the intelligent integration of health and social care, which I believe will be vitally important with Alzheimer's, on which so much important research is undertaken in the NHS. 
As part of the work to prepare the social care Green Paper, I understand my colleagues in DHSC are considering proposals from the Alzheimer's Society regarding the establishment of a Dementia Fund, designed to offer a source of funding to help those who need financial support for the additional costs associated with dementia treatment and care. Treatment of people who suffer with dementia will be considered under the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament. It seeks to improve safeguards against deprivation of liberty and to ensure that all people in care with diminished mental capacity have somebody to advocate on their behalf. 

I can assure you that I will continue to pay close to attention to how Government policy affects those suffering from dementia.