Dementia made a national health priority area

The Hon. Mark Butler MP, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Minister for Social Inclusion, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 August 2012

Dementia Made a National Priority Area.

Health Ministers met in Sydney today and agreed to designate dementia as the ninth National Health Priority Area.

The move is expected to enhance the development of a new National Framework for Action on Dementia, which will contribute to current and future work being undertaken to tackle dementia, including the national research effort.

Federal Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, addressed the meeting explaining that dementia is predicted to be the leading cause of disability in less than 4 years.

“Today 280,000 Australians live with dementia and by 2050 that figure will have risen to more than 1 million,” said Mr. Butler. “This presents major challenges for health and aged care services.” Mr. Butler said that spending on dementia beyond 2060 is set to outstrip that of any health condition. “We expect dementia spending to top $80 billion by 2062 – 63,” said Mr. Butler.

But early diagnosis has been shown to have significant potential benefits for both the person with dementia and their carers and family, including improvements to quality of life and reducing care burden.

The Australian Government’s Living Longer Living Better package has significant focus on dementia with $268 million to be invested to tackle the epidemic.

“We’re introducing a new Dementia Supplement in home and residential care, improving hospital and primary care for people with dementia and putting a big effort into reducing the time between symptoms and diagnosis.”

There has been significant stakeholder involvement and community interest in the lead up to the Health Ministers meeting.

For more information, contact the Minister’s office on (02) 6277 7280.