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Music therapy encouraged amid warnings of ‘over-medicalised’ dementia patients

Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is projected to rise to more than a million in under a decade.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock says people with dementia could benefit from music therapy (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says people with dementia could benefit from music therapy (Jonathan Brady/PA)

More people with dementia should be given music or dance therapy in a bid to prevent them being “over-medicalised”, the Health Secretary has said.

Matt Hancock said that while guidance says local areas should consider music or dancing for people with dementia, such therapies have not been widely adopted across England.

Speaking following a reception hosted by the Prince of Wales at Clarence House in support of “social prescription” therapies, Mr Hancock said: “Dementia can devastate the lives of people affected by it and although there is not yet a cure I believe we can do more to improve the lives of people with the condition.

“In particular, I want to combat over-medicalisation and dishing out pills when it’s not in the best interests of the patient.

“There is increasing evidence suggesting music can bring calm to people with dementia by reducing agitation and supporting those affected to cope better with symptoms.

“This is the kind of personalised care that I fully endorse as a key part of our NHS long term plan.”

Around 850,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is projected to rise to more than a million in under a decade.

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