I can assure you that dementia is a priority for the Government. In 2015, the Challenge on Dementia 2020 was launched, and I know that the Government remains committed to delivering this. This sets out the vision for dementia care, support, awareness, and research to be transformed by 2020. I fully support the ambition to ensure England offers the world's best dementia care.
Progress in the care, support and treatment of people with dementia has been made, with more people receiving a diagnosis of dementia than ever before. Over 660,000 NHS staff have received dementia training with further training opportunities rolled out to all NHS staff by the end of 2018. Over 100,000 social care workers have received some form of dementia awareness training. Since 2015, new care staff have been trained to receive the Care Certificate, which equips them with the knowledge and skills to provide safe and compassionate care, including for those with dementia.
I believe it is important to increase public awareness and understanding of dementia among the wider public to ensure that people are supported to live well with the condition and I am encouraged that there are almost 2.5 million Dementia Friends.
Research is crucial to understanding and tackling dementia, which is why I am glad that the Government has doubled research spending on dementia and remains committed to maintaining the current expenditure on dementia research of at least £60 million a year through to 2020. I am encouraged that over £83 million was spent on dementia research by the Government in 2016/17, the latest year for which figures are available, well in excess of the £60 million target.
The Government is integrating and improving health and social care to protect people at every stage of their lives. Furthermore, the Government is committed to publishing a Green Paper this year, which will outline a new social care policy, which is financially sustainable, accessible, and properly integrated with the NHS. To this end, I am encouraged by the establishment of the Department of Health and Social Care this year, which will oversee the intelligent integration of health and social care, which I believe will be vitally important with Alzheimer's, on which so much important research is undertaken in the NHS.
As part of the work to prepare the social care Green Paper, I understand my colleagues in DHSC are considering proposals from the Alzheimer's Society regarding the establishment of a Dementia Fund, designed to offer a source of funding to help those who need financial support for the additional costs associated with dementia treatment and care.
Treatment of people who suffer with dementia will also be considered under the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill which is currently under discussion in the House of Lords. It seeks to improve
safeguards against deprivation of liberty, and to ensure that all people in care with diminished mental capacity have somebody to advocate on their behalf. I will closely follow the progress of this bill and will plan to attend debates when it comes before the House of Commons.