UK Government

Department of Health: New National Clinical Director for Dementia

Press Release   •   Jan 25, 2010 11:33 GMT

Professor Alistair Burns has been appointed as the new National Clinical Director for Dementia, the Department of Health announced today.

Professor Burns will promote better care of people with dementia within the NHS and social care communities and provide leadership for the implementation of the National Dementia Strategy. He is currently Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Manchester and Manchester Academic Health Science Centre.

Professor Burns developed the South Manchester Memory Clinic, which provides specialist assessment and diagnosis for people with memory problems. He is also an instrumental part of the Old Age Psychiatry General Hospital liaison service and helped establish a Dementia Drug Treatment clinic.

Care Services Minister, Phil Hope said:

"Alistair’s experience of dementia services gives him a unique understanding of what works for people with the condition and their carers. I am confident that he will help drive up standards of care across the country and look forward to working with him to build the best possible services for people with dementia."

Professor Alistair Burns, said:

‘I am delighted to have been appointed to the post of National Clinical Director for Dementia. In the past few years, there has been a great deal of public interest in dementia and several influential initiatives, in particular the National Dementia Strategy. The challenge, now, is to build on this to make a real positive difference to people with dementia, their families and carers. I very much look forward to working with colleagues to realise this ambition.’

Ruth Sutherland, Chief Operating Officer for Alzheimer's Society, said:

‘Alzheimer’s Society is delighted at the news that Professor Alistair Burns has been appointed as the new National Clinical Director for Dementia. This role will provide much needed leadership for the National Dementia Strategy for England and is vital for its success. We look forward to working with Professor Burns over the coming months and years

'One in three people will die with dementia. The National Dementia Strategy provides the opportunity of a generation to transform the lives of the 700,000 people with dementia and their carers in the UK today. By working together we can one day defeat dementia.'

Professor Burns will work closely with the new National Clinical Director for Older People, Professor David Oliver, also announced today, to ensure strong leadership in shaping the future of services for an ageing population.

Notes to editors

1. Professor Alistair Burns took up post as Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Manchester in 1992 and is Hon Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust and Deputy Dean at South Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust. Professor Burns also has an international reputation in research with nearly 300 papers published in peer reviewed journals and 25 books.

Key Stats

700,000 people have dementia in the UK and this number will rise to 1million in the next ten years.

Dementia is one of the main causes of disability in later life, ahead of some cancers, cardiovascular disease and stroke.

One in three people over 65 will die with a form of dementia

There are 15,000 people under the age of 65 with dementia

Dementia costs the economy £17 billion a year


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