Two-thirds of suspected dementia cases in Notts get formal diagnosis

Two-thirds of people suspected of living with dementia in Nottinghamshire were given a formal diagnosis last year, new figures show.

By Andrew Dowdeswell
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:44 pm

NHS England guidance gives a target for two-thirds of people suspected of having dementia to be officially diagnosed with the condition.

Data from the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities shows 68.7 per cent of people thought to have dementia in the NHS Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group area were formally diagnosed in 2021 – based on an indicator which predicts the expected number of dementia cases in people aged 65 and over.

Nationally, 61.6 per cent of predicted dementia cases were formally diagnosed last year – the lowest rate in five years of available data, and down from 67.4 per cent in 2020.

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Across England, 415,778 people were formally diagnosed with dementia in 2021, down from 454,599 the year before.

Zena Aldridge, from Dementia UK, said a lack of funding has led to ‘patchy’ diagnosis rates and Covid-19 had an even greater impact, with face-to-face GP appointments reduced and memory assessment services scaled back or closed.

Thousands of families are stuck in limbo as they wait for a diagnosis, she added, with periods of isolation meaning friends and family have missed possible symptoms.

Ms Aldridge said: “Although there is no cure for dementia, receiving a diagnosis early on enables the person to plan for their future and seek appropriate support.

“We urgently need to address this imbalance by investing in quality dementia specialist care.”

Last month, the Government said it will be producing a dementia strategy this year.

Across England, 415,778 people were formally diagnosed with dementia in 2021, down from 454,599 the year before.

In Nottinghamshire, the total also fell, from 8,989 in 2020 to 8,247 last year.

The Department for Health and Social Care allocated £17m in funding to NHS England and Improvement last year to addressing falling dementia diagnosis rates and provide greater pre and post-diagnostic support to dementia sufferers and their carers.

A spokesman said the Government recognises the impact Covid-19 has had on dementia diagnosis rates, but said it has ‘set out a blueprint to address backlogs built up during the pandemic and tackle long waits with a massive expansion in capacity for tests, checks and treatments’.

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