Dementia should be EU health priority

MEPs in Strasbourg have endorsed a call for all member states to develop dedicated national strategies for dealing with dementia.

MEPs in Strasbourg have endorsed a call for all member states to develop dedicated national strategies for dealing with dementia.

The European Parliament also voted in favour of improving EU research coordination into all forms of dementia, particularly Alzheimers's disease.

Speaking after the debate, Leinster MEP Liam Aylward said effective action at EU level is essential to support member states in assisting dementia sufferers and their families.

"Over 38,000 people in Ireland suffer from dementia, and given that for each person suffering there are three family members affected, the burden is currently falling on them to provide care," he said.

The European Union has set aside €159 million for over 30 research projects on neurodegenerative diseases, but MEPs want this programme extended to reflect the exponential growth of dementia.

Labour MEP Nessa Childers said the report also calls for the establishment of specialist treatment centres for Alzheimer's patients, and greater support and services for their carers.