The structure of Portugal’s National Dementia Plan has been submitted to the Ministry of Health for approval.

The submission follows a May 2013 meeting, where a group of dementia experts persuaded the government that existing dementia prevalence figures are sufficiently accurate to allow the next phase of the plan to proceed right away. The group put forward a prevalence figure of 160,000 people with dementia in Portugal, which negated the need for a dedicated epidemiological study – an expensive and lengthy process.

The group included psychiatrists, neurologists, general practitioners, researchers, members of the municipalities and representatives of Alzheimer Portugal. Their work was coordinated by Prof Joel Menard, an architect of the original French Alzheimer Plan.

The next phase of the national plan is a study to determine the needs of people with dementia. This study is already prepared and can begin very quickly. It will begin in the north of Portugal and will return results within six to nine months According to Álvaro de Carvalho, the Coordinator of the National Mental Health Programme, the rest of the country will follow in turn. 

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