MP DEBBIE Abrahams says that stigma and prejudice makes an existing post code lottery of services for dementia worse.

The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia.

She told an audience at the National Dementia Action Alliance annual conference at the Royal College of Nursing in London: “Supporting people to live well with dementia has been a focus of mine throughout my time as a parliamentarian.

“Dementia can have a devastating impact on all of those affected by the condition. However, we also know there is a lot that can be done to support people to improve and maintain their quality of life.

“Being able to access high quality social care, treatment, and feeling accepted and able to participate in local community activities in a meaningful way can make a big difference to people affected by dementia.

“We know that people with dementia face a number of challenges in having their rights upheld across all areas of life, including accessing healthcare services, exercising their right to vote, or being able to live independently in the community. This can partly be because it is considered a ‘hidden’ or ‘invisible’ disability.

“Stigma, prejudice and a lack of understanding about the condition, as well as discrimination on multiple grounds including age and gender, compounds an existing postcode lottery of services for people with dementia in the UK.”

Ms Abrahams also told the delegates that the APPG is in the process of conducting an extensive inquiry into dementia and disability, saying: “The inquiry is looking at the rights of people with dementia, given that dementia is legally defined as a disability, and that the UK is a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“The written call for evidence asked how people with dementia have been supported to live well and what else was needed to live well.

“We received an unprecedented nearly 3000 responses to this call from a range of individuals and organisations, including people living with dementia, carers, family members, health and social care professionals, and third sector organisations.”