I spoke following First Minister’s Questions about People with Dementia and the care they receive here in Scotland.
Last week’s figures on post-diagnostic support for those newly diagnosed with dementia show that there is a huge gap between the Scottish Government‘s pledge of support and the real experiences of people living with dementia. Given that health and social care partnerships are already struggling to meet the Government’s guarantee and that partnerships will have to make tens of millions of pounds of further cuts if the Government’s draft budget is agreed, where exactly will the additional funding come from to deliver the guarantee that everyone with a new diagnosis of dementia in Scotland will receive a minimum of one year of post-diagnostic support
As well as the above inflation increase that we are committed to delivering for the national health service, the member will be aware that we are committed to ensuring that money goes from the health service into social care, given the importance of the integrated service that he talks about. Last year that was £250 million; we are adding an additional £107 million to that this year. That is part of the funding commitment that will help to ensure that such services can be delivered.
As I said in a previous answer, the commitment is really important. It does not exist in many other countries. We were one of the first countries to give this commitment to post-diagnostic support. Yes, we have made progress in delivering it, but we have more progress to make.
It is important that we do not shy away from giving such groundbreaking commitments because they might be difficult to deliver. I would rather that we worked towards that, as we are doing, with the funding and strategy that are necessary to deliver it. That is what we will keep very focused on.