Linda McAvan (United Kingdom)
MEPs speak out on dementia
Linda McAvan (United Kingdom) talks to AE about her priorities for the European elections (May 2009)
In the run up to the elections, Alzheimer Europe asked Members of the European Parliament the following questions:
1. As the mandate of this European Parliament draws to a close, we would be very interested in hearing which you consider to be the key accomplishments of this Parliament which had a direct impact on people with Alzheimer’s disease and their carers?
2. After the European Parliament elections in June, which are the main policy initiatives that will be important for people with dementia and their carers?
3. If you are re-elected, do you have any personal priorities that would be of particular interest to people with dementia and their carers?
Linda McAvan: Over the course of its current 5 year mandate, the European Parliament has been the venue for various awareness-raising events, seminars, special interest groups and workshops. These are designed to bring together organisations, MEPs and EU policy-makers to discuss the treatment and research of Alzheimer's disease in a European context. The Parliament also approved a wide-ranging research programme proposal - with a total budget of €50 billion over 5 years - which includes a specific reference to brain and related diseases. This fund has ensured that research into Alzheimer's disease has received vital financial support from the European Union. More recently, the European Parliament adopted a Written Declaration on Alzheimer's disease, which calls on policy makers in the European Union and Member States to make the disease a European public health priority. It also includes specific reference to supporting sufferers, their carers and Alzheimer's associations. As this Written Declaration is now the official position of the European Parliament, the European Commission will work towards ensuring that it is reflected in future policies, including funding programmes.
Europe's population is ageing, and the policy initiatives of the European Union will be central to ensuring a coordinated effort to fight Alzheimer's disease. A union-wide health monitoring system will play an important role in terms of collecting meaningful and comparable data about Alzheimer's disease and associated issues, such as causal factors and preventative strategies. Continued funding for research, as well as increased support for Alzheimer's associations, will help all Member States cope with the social and economic costs of Alzheimer's and work towards better conditions for carers and better treatment for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Everybody knows somebody who has been affected by Alzheimer's. I believe that every effort should be made to bring together the best professionals and researchers from across Europe to tackle this terrible disease. In the last parliament, I and other MEPs formed a Special Interest Group in the European Parliament which focused specifically on brain disorders. I very much hope we will be able to continue this work in the next parliament.
Last Updated: Wednesday 14 October 2009