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Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge Team – meeting with the Robert Goodwill


On a very stormy Monday morning, I left Plymouth station for London and due to the storms, we arrived about 30 minutes late into Paddington, which gave me plenty of time to have some interesting conversations with my fellow passengers, including Ian Sherriff from Plymouth University, with whom I was travelling.


We met Oliver Colville in Portcullis House and his wonderful Parliamentary Assistant Stuart Pilcher.  Oliver is very supportive of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge team and often acts as host when we go up to the Houses of Parliament.


It was at Portcullis House that the entire group got together, with an Occupational Therapist Alison Warren and James Freemantle from the Civil Aviation Authority.  We chatted about how what we hoped to say and what we hoped to get from the meeting and then leaving Stuart back in the House of Commons, the rest of us went over to the Department for Transport, where we were due to meet Robert Goodwill.


Whenever I have been to any of the government buildings, there is a certain amount of security to get through, so once we were allowed into the building, we waited to be shown in to Robert’s office.


We met Robert and his assistance, everyone introduced themselves and we talked about the project.  The aim is to get air travel dementia friendly.


Alison explained that queuing and waiting can be trigger points for issues and security is a problem area for people living with dementia to manage.  No-one wants there to be a security breach, but it is hoped that there can be an understanding that some people find some processes harder than others.


I mentioned carers and not wanting to be separated from the person that they are caring for.  The carer might be coping with all the bags and with the stress of the situation, could be the person creating an issue, as opposed to the person with dementia.  A stressful situation can lead to a raised voice and from there the situation can easily escalate.


So the group agreed to have a parliamentary discussion, which will hopefully commence a wider discussion.


Human rights are for everyone, not just the able bodied and articulate.  We all want the same thing, to be treated with dignity and respect and to try to have a nice time in our lives in accordance with our own view of what a nice time is.


Great meeting, we are moving forward in the hope that people with dementia will be able to travel more easily, if that is what they want to do.