Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, has taken up the cause of dementia sufferers in Stevenage by meeting with one of the UK’s leading consultants on dementia to discuss the burden of disease and current treatment options.
Mr McPartland met with Professor Peter Passmore, Professor of Ageing and Geriatric Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast and one of the UK’s foremost consultants on dementia, at the Houses of Parliament to discuss the increasing numbers of people affected by this illness and how best they can be cared for.
Stephen explained that he has a deep interest in this area stating: “I meet carers, relatives and sufferers of dementia regularly and it is a truly distressing illness. Providing dementia sufferers with the right treatment is essential and I am delighted to have met with Professor Passmore to discuss the issue in more detail. The over prescription of anti psychotics is extremely worrying and I am determined to look into the situation in Stevenage.”
Mr McPartland has asked the Secretary of State to outline the number of dementia sufferers in Stevenage and the proportion that have been prescribed antipsychotics. It is currently estimated that 820,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, an estimated 1,200 people in Stevenage, and this figure is set to rise to over 1,000,000 by 2025.
Professor Passmore spoke of the work he does with dementia sufferers in the UK and the challenges he faces in treating the disease. He outlined that there are many treatment options for the disease, but he is concerned by the growing use of anti psychotic medication, principally licensed for treating patients with illnesses such as schizophrenia, to treat the illness. He outlined that there were many treatments for dementia and reducing the use of antipsychotics is important, as currently only 1 in 5 patients derive benefit from their use.
Professor Passmore commented that the meeting was “a fantastic opportunity to speak with an interested parliamentarian like Stephen, to discuss the problem of dementia in the UK and in Stevenage. I hope that other parliamentarians can use Stephen’s example and take up the issue in Parliament.”