New Alzheimer Europe publication highlights inequalities in access to dementia care and treatment across Europe
Brussels, 26 June, 2017 - In a report presented today at a lunch debate hosted by Deirdre Clune, MEP (Ireland) in the European Parliament, Alzheimer Europe highlighted the existing inequalities in access to dementia care and treatment across Europe.
The objective of the report entitled “European Dementia Monitor” was to provide a benchmark of national dementia policies in order to compare and rate the responses of European countries to the dementia challenge. The survey covered all Member States of the European Union (with the exception of Estonia), as well as Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Jersey, Israel, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, stated: “Our organization has been lobbying for the recognition of dementia as a public health priority and called on European governments to develop national dementia strategies. The aim of the European Dementia Monitor is to asses which countries provide the most dementia-friendly policies and guarantee the best support and treatment of people with dementia and their carers”..
The European Dementia Monitor compares countries on 10 different categories:
- The availability of care services
- The affordability of care services
- The reimbursement of medicines
- The availability of clinical trials
- The involvement of the country in European dementia research initiatives
- The recognition of dementia as a priority
- The development of dementia-friendly initiatives
- The recognition of legal rights
- The ratification of International and European human rights treaties
- Care and employment rights
According to the findings of the European Dementia Monitor, no country excelled in all ten categories and there were significant differences between European countries. Some of the key findings were:
- Finland scored highest on care availability and affordability since it provided the most care services and ensured that these services were accessible and affordable for people with dementia and their carers.
- On treatment, Belgium, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (both England and Scotland) came first, as all anti-dementia treatments were fully reimbursed and the countries had a policy in place to limit the inappropriate use of antipsychotics.
- Germany, France and Spain scored highest in the clinical trial category, as it was possible for people with dementia to take part in all nine phase III clinical trials currently being conducted in Europe.
- Italy was the country that was the most committed to and active in European dementia research collaborations.
- Ireland and Norway came first in the recognition of dementia as a national policy and research priority.
- Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom (England) had the most inclusive and dementia-friendly initiatives and communities.
- Germany, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom (England and Scotland) complied with Alzheimer Europe’s four recommendations with regard to respecting the legal rights of people with dementia and their carers.
- Finland and Norway had ratified the most International and European human rights conventions.
- Ireland came first with regard to the care and employment rights which are recognised.
Deirdre Clune, MEP (Ireland) welcomed the findings of the European Dementia Monitor: “As a Member of the European Parliament and the European Alzheimer’s Alliance, I am interested in how European countries differ in their approaches to dementia care and treatment. I hope that this report will be an incentive for some countries to further improve their support to people with dementia and their carers and to learn from those countries which have put more dementia-friendly policies in place. As an Irish MEP, I was happy to see that Ireland excelled in some key areas with the development of our national dementia strategy, the Irish Working Group of People with Dementia and the recognition of care and employment rights. However, my country is also lagging behind in other areas and it is time, for example, for Ireland to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”
On the basis of the findings in the 10 identified categories, Alzheimer Europe established a ranking of countries (with each domain contributing 10% to the overall score) with Finland coming first with an overall score of 75.2% followed by the United Kingdom (England) (72.4%), the Netherlands (71..2%), Germany (69.4%) and the United Kingdom (Scotland) (68.8%).
Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP (Finland) and Vice-Chairperson of the European Alzheimer’s Alliance welcomed the findings: “I was delighted to see that Finland came first in this extensive survey of Alzheimer Europe. There has been a very strong commitment in my country to finding practical solutions and concrete support to the many people living with memory-disabling diseases. Finland should feel encouraged to keep up its leadership position and to learn from countries which excel in categories where Finland has further room to improve.”
Iva Holmerová, Chairperson of Alzheimer Europe, concluded: “I was sorry to see that there is still a clear East/West divide in Europe with most of the Western and Northern European countries scoring significantly higher than Eastern European countries. As a rule, countries with national dementia strategies scored better in all categories. It is time therefore that all European countries and in particular those in Eastern Europe recognise dementia as a national priority and develop national dementia strategies.”
For further information
Please contact: Jean Georges, Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe, 14, rue Dicks, L-1417 Luxembourg, Tel.: +352-29 79 70, Fax: +352-29 79 72, [email protected], www.alzheimer-europe.org, www.dementia-in-europe.eu
The full report “European Dementia Monitor 2017: Comparing and benchmarking national dementia strategies and policies” can be bought online from Alzheimer Europe at EUR 5.20: http://alzheimer-europe.org/Publications/E-Shop/European-Dementia-Monitor-2017/European-Dementia-Monitor-2017
Notes to editors
Alzheimer Europe is the umbrella organisation of national Alzheimer associations and currently has 39 member organisations in 34 European countries. The mission statement of the organisation is to change perceptions, practice and policy to ensure equal access of people with dementia to a high level of care services and treatment options.
In order to calculate the overall ranking of countries, Alzheimer Europe based the global score on a combined score of the ten different categories with each contributing 10% to the overall score. This score is presented as a percentage of the overall maximum score which countries could have achieved and leads to the following ranking as shown in the figure below:
When looking at the map of Europe (see below), we can see that there are significant differences across Europe with countries in Northern and Central Europe scoring much better than countries in Southern and Eastern Europe.