News story

Ministers back dementia prevention call for action

PHE today welcomes the backing of Health Ministers from across the UK for a call for action on reducing the risk of developing dementia.

Dementia prevention

Speaking at the first Global Dementia Legacy Event in London today (19 June 2014), Jon Rouse, Director General for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships at the Department of Health, said that health ministers from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all signed up to the ‘Blackfriars Consensus’. The Consensus is a statement on dementia risk reduction published by Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Health Forum and signed by 60 leading figures and organisations from across the dementia and public health community.

The Blackfriars Consensus says that action to tackle smoking, drinking, sedentary behaviour and poor diet could reduce the risk of dementia in later life as well as other conditions such as heart disease, stroke and many cancers.

It says that the scientific evidence on dementia risk reduction is now sufficient to justify action and argues that dementia risk reduction needs to be incorporated into health policies and that there is a need to raise wider awareness about the potential for reducing people’s risk of developing dementia.

Charles Alessi, senior advisor and dementia prevention lead at PHE, said:

We are delighted that UK health ministers have chosen to back the Blackfriars Consensus. The UK is helping to lead the way on dementia risk reduction and as momentum builds, we need concerted action to get the message out there that dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing and to help people to look after their brain health as well as their heart health by reducing risks earlier in their lives.

Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the UK Health Forum said:

I am delighted that this important consensus statement has received the endorsement of ministers. Protecting and promoting brain health has been a relatively neglected concept until now. High level support is vital if we are to create a new agenda for reducing the risk of dementia and preventing non-communicable diseases by stepping up action on the major shared risk factors of smoking, physical inactivity, alcohol and poor diet.

The first Global Dementia Legacy Event, held in London, follows the 2013 G8 dementia summit. Experts from around the world including the World Health Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, global Alzheimer’s charities, pharmaceutical organisations and investors met to discuss the global challenge of dementia and to propose ways to increase investment in dementia. The event was also streamed live around the world in 7 languages.

Published 19 June 2014