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Dementia not forgotten

The nation’s health ministers have nominated dementia as one of the nation’s top health priorities amid expectations that the number of Australians suffering the debilitating condition is likely to reach more than one million by mid-century. The Standing Council on Health approved a proposal from Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek that dementia be added to the existing list of eight national health priorities, which includes cancer, asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental health, to help drive efforts to tackle the syndrome.

19 Aug 2012

The nation’s health ministers have nominated dementia as one of the nation’s top health priorities amid expectations that the number of Australians suffering the debilitating condition is likely to reach more than one million by mid-century.

The Standing Council on Health approved a proposal from Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek that dementia be added to the existing list of eight national health priorities, which includes cancer, asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and mental health, to help drive efforts to tackle the syndrome.

In a joint statement, the ministers said the recognition would add impetus to the development of a national plan of action regarding dementia.

The ministers said about 280,000 people currently have dementia, and the lives of a further 1.5 million carers, relatives and friends were affected by it.

Federal Mental Health Minister Mark Butler warned that by 2050 more than one million people were likely to have the condition, and it was on track to be the nation’s most expensive health condition: “We expect dementia spending to top $80 billion by 2062-63”.

Mr Butler said early diagnosis had been shown to have significant potential benefits for both those with dementia and their carers and family, and designating the condition as a national health priority would help intensify efforts in the area.

AR


Published: 19 Aug 2012