Terry Pratchett to Address Conservative Party Conference
on Long Term Care For Older People
Terry Pratchett OBE, has accepted an invitation from Shadow Minister for Health Stephen O’Brien MP to address the Conservative Party on Monday 29th September.
Mr Pratchett is a prolific writer of what has been termed ‘fantasy-satire’. He is most famous for his Discworld series which runs to 36 novels, and has sold 55 million books worldwide.
He revealed at the end of 2007 that he had been diagnosed with what he calls ‘an embuggerance’ – a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease called posterior cortical atrophy.
He is campaigning strongly for improvements in Alzheimer’s research and care, donating nearly half a million pounds to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and recently attacked NICE for its decision not to provide Aricept for early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The assumptions used by Derek Wanless in his influential report for the King’s Fund Securing Good Care for Older People:Taking a long-term view is that between one in three and one in five of us will need some form of long term care, with around one in ten of us needing to be in a care home. As the population grows, medical technology enables people to live longer lives, and the demographic shifts to a more elderly population take root, this will see a significant rise in the numbers of those with long term care needs.
Whilst Alzheimer’s and dementia are not the sole cause of such needs, around a fifth of those who need long term care will have some form of dementia, with two thirds of the care home population currently, and likely to continue, having some form of dementia. The Wanless report forecast that overall, what was estimated to be a £14bn gross spend in 2006-07 could double to between £24 and £31 billion by 2026, depending on the decisions we all take now.
Commenting, Mr Pratchett said:
“Is there going to be a government of any stripe in England willing to put its money where it’d mouth is and fund changes? Or will dementia remain the most feared disease of the over 55s? They fear the under-funded ‘home’, the loss of dignity and the chemical cosh. What is unthinkable is to do nothing at all.”
Stephen O’Brien MP said:
“I am very pleased that Terry has agreed to address the conference. He is uniquely placed to give us an insight into the terrible disease that dementia is, and I am in awe of the matter-of-fact way that he is tackling both his own experience, and that of the wider community of dementia sufferers”.
“Long term care, how we provide it and how we pay for it is a question which dominates health and social care policy. I know that Terry will challenge both the current Government, and future Governments over their policy towards Alzheimer’s, and I look forward to a fruitful discussion at conference, and the start of what should be a national debate”.