Half Of Dementia Patients Not Formally Diagnosed

Dementia Patients Are Often Not Getting The Care They Need

29.11.2013

Fewer than half of people with dementia in England are being formally diagnosed with the condition.

This was revealed by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt, who said this may be causing hundreds of thousands of Britons to not get the support they need in order to live an improved quality of life.

Figures showing the lack of diagnosis were published as part of an online map, which Mr Hunt argues will allow patients to see which trusts are not doing enough to tackle the issue.

While an improvement in the number of people being told they have dementia has been seen - it has gone up from 46 per cent in 2011 to 48 per cent now - this still isn't enough and GPs have to be responsible for the care of their own patients, argues Mr Hunt.

"In too many parts of the country, people think there is no point in getting it diagnosed because they think nothing is going to happen," Mr Hunt told the Daily Mail.

"We need to ensure that when someone is diagnosed, the system swings into action and gets people the support they need. There is a demographic time bomb but we are not giving people the care we should be giving them."

However, to combat this issue, the Department of Health, as well as NHS England, are taking steps to improve the lives of people who have been diagnosed.

Earlier this week, the winners of the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia, which offers a share of £150,000 to three scientists who come up with ideas to help people with the neurological condition live a more satisfying lifestyle.

The £80,000 top prize was given to Memory First, a new dementia service that is run by 162 GPs in 41 practices across Staffordshire.

Patients are made part of a holistic management system that allows doctors to more easily share information with each other. Healthcare workers also strive to make a diagnosis as soon as possible and this is done through over-65s being asked a series of questions about their memory when they attend for checkups.

We can help you to claim compensation for clinical negligence if a serious injury or fatality has occurred as a result of inadequate supervision and care. See our Mental Health Negligence Compensation page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The figures that have been released show a worrying trend and it is important that steps are taken to ensure that thousands of people are not being overlooked.

“Dementia is a serious and debilitating condition for both the patient and their family and they deserve the best possible care. Such standards of treatment can only be provided if conditions like this are diagnosed quickly and correctly at the earliest possible stage, but these figures suggest some work needs to be done to make improvements in this regard.

“The regions which display the lowest figures in terms of diagnosis need to be given adequate attention to ensure that extra support is given to local NHS services.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner