One area of Parliament's work that receives very little media coverage are the all party groups. As the name implies, an all party group is a collection of MPs and members of the House of Lords of all political persuasions who share a passion for a particular issue and work together to raise its salience and influence Government policy. I've joined several of these groups since being elected last May, one of which is the All Party Group on dementia - an issue that does or will affect most of my constituents and something I am particularly passionate about as I lost my Dad to Alzheimer's disease.
The All Party Group has launched an inquiry into into improving outcomes for people with dementia whilst saving money and this afternoon I found myself with Baroness Greengross, a former Director General of Age Concern England; David Blunkett; Hazel Blears; and others taking evidence from a range of experts including Professor Martin Knapp, Director of the Centre for the Economics of Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College; Simon Williams, the lead on dementia for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Director of Adult Social Services at Merton Council; and Dr Graham Stokes, Director of Dementia Care for Bupa Care Services. It was a fascinating session with lots of interesting lessons, in particular the benefits both in terms of saving money and improving outcomes of providing alternatives to hospital-based care. There is another evidence session tomorrow.