Mental health experts who advised the government on the delayed dementia strategy are 'braced for disappointment' amid fears it is being substantially watered down due to the worsening economy.

The Department of Health was due to publish the strategy last October. The delay is fuelling suspicions that recommendations are being removed to save money.

Neil Hunt, Alzheimer's Society chief executive and chair of the external reference group that contributed to the strategy, said it appeared to be caught in a Treasury "stranglehold". He said: "I'm braced for being disappointed.

"There's a question mark over whether commissioners will be attracted to buying new services without the resources." In particular, Mr Hunt wanted to see dementia care advisers introduced to help patients and families.

Bupa head of mental health Graham Stokes, who also advised on the strategy, said it was unlikely any new investment would be made available for care advisers. He said: "If we get a diluted document now, there's no reason to believe it will be visited again in the next five years."