“It’s a disgrace.” Scott Mitchell unites with Alzheimer’s Society as he urges public to sign open letter to the Prime Minister
During a powerful and emotional video interview with another carer, Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell called dementia “the disease of punishment” as the social care crisis makes it even more “painful” for those affected. Scott is asking the UK public to join with him in signing Alzheimer’s Society’s open letter to the PM to fix social care for once and for all.
Since the announcement of his and his wife Dame Barbara Windsor’s new ambassadorship for Alzheimer’s Society, Scott Mitchell has been meeting those affected by our country’s broken social care system to get insight into the difficulties that thousands across the UK face every day.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care campaign, championed by Scott and Barbara, has been calling on the Government to provide a long-term funding solution to end the social care crisis. Dementia is the biggest health and care challenge facing us today, yet the system is in disarray, completely unprepared to support the growing numbers of people receiving a dementia diagnosis. Across the country dementia care is difficult, and in some places even impossible, to access. Where support is available, it is of hugely variable quality and unaffordable for far too many.
People with dementia and their families often have to spend typical care costs of £100,000 and their care is 15% more expensive than standard social care – just because they happened to have developed dementia and not some other disease.
Too often, people with dementia end up hospitalised through lack of care, and/or stuck in hospital when they’re well enough to leave, draining millions (an avoidable £570 million) from the NHS each year, in addition to the emotional and health cost they endure.
Alzheimer’s Society’s open letter to the Prime Minister, signed by Dame Barbara and Scott Mitchell, will be handed in by the couple at No. 10 on Monday 2 September. More than 50,000 people have now signed the letter to the Prime Minister.
Scott met Val Pickford, from North Somerset, whose partner Ivana Cooke is living with dementia in a care home. As Val talked about her and Ivana’s own experience as her condition progressed, they bonded, with Scott revealing: “What is amazing Val, is what you’re saying is what I’m going through right now with Barbara”.
They discussed the huge costs people with dementia must pay for their care, and how Val has to pay £1,300 a month out of her savings for Ivana’s care. Following this, Scott and Val spoke about what can be done to fix the devastating state of social care, and how politicians must start doing what they say they are going to do. Regarding the crisis, Val wondered: “How have we let this happen?”.
Dame Barbara, diagnosed with dementia in 2014, and her husband Scott are thrilled to be Ambassadors for the cause, continuing the fight against dementia.
Speaking about the experience, Scott Mitchell said: “It really seems this is the disease of punishment. Not only do people have to live with it and go through the terror and horror – and their loved ones caring for them do too, but on top of that they’ll say let’s make it a bit more difficult.
“I genuinely feel for the people that have to give up their jobs and sell their homes, selling their parents’ homes that they have worked all their lives for. And you do wonder, how did we get here? How did we get to a situation where there is so much disregard for people?
“The conversation is getting much louder, and much broader, and they can’t ignore it. They can’t ignore what’s going on. It’s a disgrace. We are calling on the public to help us end this injustice and sign our open letter that myself and Barbara will be delivering to the Prime Minister next week. This cannot go on any longer.”
Dame Barbara added: “My heart goes out to the many, many people who are really struggling to get the care they so desperately need. Please join us, and sign our letter – let’s do everything we can to sort this out.”
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Barbara and Scott’s commitment to helping us achieve our goals is so inspiring. Not only are they going through their own deeply personal experience of dementia, they are also leading our campaign, and Scott is visiting others affected to get a broader insight from those desperately battling the care system to try and get the support and care they need.
“One million people in the UK will have dementia by 2021 – yet the system is in disarray, completely unprepared to support the growing numbers of people receiving a dementia diagnosis. We must end the dementia tax – we need an NHS dementia fund to address the most immediate needs while we must urgently see a long-term solution for social care being made a priority.”
“Our open letter to the Prime Minister is a hugely important step towards ensuring the complete overhaul of our threadbare system. We are urging as many people as possible to sign it and pledge their support before we hand it in to No. 10 next week.”
Ask Boris Johnson to end the dementia care crisis. Join Alzheimer’s Society’s Fix Dementia Care campaign and sign the open letter at alzheimers.org.uk/fixdementiacareletter.
As part of the Fix Dementia Care campaign, Alzheimer’s Society is calling for a long-term funding solution combined with immediate investment in a £2.4bn NHS Dementia Fund, mapped within plans to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan and then established in the upcoming Spending Review. Alzheimer’s Society believes that if the NHS can demonstrate they don’t have sufficient funds, then the government must provide additional resources.