Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Health issues.

Back from another little jaunt today. Mrs D and I played The Belfrey (PGA course on Monday and the Derby course on Tuesday morning), before heading down to Green Templeton College, Oxford, where I joined the RESEC (Research into Specialist Elderly Care) 'think tank' to discuss a new report, 'Dementia; ethical issues'. This is one of the biggest public health issues of our generation - and perhaps the next as well. We stayed overnight at The Randolph, Inspector Morse's watering hole.

Care of the elderly is a subject that this blog visits from time to time. Awareness and treatment of dementia is a key aspect of it. This post outlines what dementia is. Its physical damage to the brain as a result of chronic progressive degeneration of nerve cells. Dementia takes several forms - Alzheimer's disease being the most common. Other forms include vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's Disease dementia, frontotemporal dementia, alcohol related dementias and prion diseases. There are over 100 different types. Its reckoned that there are around 700,000 dementia sufferers in the UK at present, a figure that's projected to increase to 1,700,000 by 2051.

The above casual statement that dementia is a 'physical' disease which has consequences for mental health is an major issue. If someone is diagnosed with cancer, they are immediately regarded as the responsibility of the state. That dementia should be similarly regarded in unchallengeable - but such an assumption carries major consequences for our public finances. I just do not believe that we have remotely begun to understand the consequences of what we might call the 'dementia time bomb'.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting the new Chief Executive of the Local Health Board to discuss this and several other issues such as A&E services, the plan for mental health services, and the frustrating length of time its taking to develop renal dialysis services in Montgomeryshire. Don't suppose I'll be able to blog very freely on these issues because its a private meeting. That's probably enough about Montgomeryshire's health issues for now. I'd blog about golf if I played better. Mrs D won both rounds at The Belfrey.


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you would like to ask the Chief Executive of the LHB what exactly is being done about the future of Machynlleth Hospital?!

JB said...


Don't forget to take our esteemed MP with you. You know how how strongly he feels on these issues and he has, after all, worked tirelessly to have the Segway Geriatric Transporter accepted.