First and foremost, please be assured that I am aware how cruel and devastating Alzheimer’s is and have witnessed several close friends deteriorate with it.
Therefore, I entirely agree that research is crucial to understanding and tackling dementia, and I was proud to stand on a manifesto that committed to making finding a cure for dementia one of the Government's biggest collective priorities. I look forward to the publication of the dementia strategy later this year, which will focus on the specific health and care needs of people living with dementia and their carers, including dementia diagnosis and research.
The 2021 Spending Review saw £5 billion committed to health-related research and development and I understand that work is ongoing to finalise outcomes from the spending review and to identify ways to significantly boost research on dementia, which is encouraging. I was delighted by the Government's announcement in November of a £375 million investment, over the next five years, to improve understanding and treatment for a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including different types of dementia.
It is disappointing that, due to the impact of the pandemic, the estimated dementia diagnosis rate fell below the national target for the first time since 2016. While the rate has recovered slightly since the early part of the pandemic, there is more to do if we are to reach the national target for two thirds of people with dementia to be formally diagnosed. Last year, £17 million was made available to clinical commissioning groups to address dementia waiting lists and increase the number of diagnoses, which I hope will have an impact in our local area.
Finally, I welcome that the Alzheimer's Society will be hosting an event on 18 May 2022. However, due to prior Parliamentary commitments I will be unable to attend it, but I will make sure to follow this issue closely.