Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Charter of Rights for People with Dementia

Earlier in October I and my other Parliamentary colleagues helped to launch Scotland’s first ever Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers in the Scottish Parliament.

There are currently more than 69,500 people living in Scotland who have been diagnosed with dementia. Alzheimer Scotland has projected this to increase to 127,000 by 2031.

The Charter was developed by the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Alzheimer’s, which brought together MSPs and external organisations, including Alzheimer Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Crossreach and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The final document is the culmination of over half a year’s work, including a series of roadshows throughout Scotland which brought together service users, medical professionals and care home staff.

People with dementia and their carers, family members and friends, have the same human rights as every other citizen. However, it is widely recognised that, in addition to the impact of the illness, they face cultural, social and economic barriers to fulfilling these. This Charter aims to empower people with dementia, those who support them and the community as a whole to ensure their rights are recognised and respected.

During a debate on the Charter in the Scottish Parliament in October, the Scottish Government confirmed that they would accept the document in its entirety.

I want people in the local area to give their support to the Charter by signing up online at

The publication of a Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers is long overdue. In recent years numerous reports have demonstrated that levels of care for people with dementia are simply not at a high enough standard.

This Charter should be used both as an empowering tool for service users, and also serve as a framework for care homes, hospitals and other organisations when developing services for people with dementia.

I would ask that readers visit and pass the message along to their friends and family to help back this Charter.

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