Rise in number of people in Northumberland on dementia register

Northumberland has seen a 45% rise in the number of people diagnosed with dementia in five years, analysis of NHS data shows.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 12:42 pm
Updated Monday, 30th December 2019, 1:48 pm
The number of people on the dementia register in Northumberland has risen by 45% over the last five years.

Latest figures show there were around 508,000 people on the dementia register of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scottish health officials estimate there are a further 19,000 people living with dementia north of the border.

Figures for Northumberland CCG show that, in April 2014, there were 2,359 people on the dementia register. That number had risen to 3,417 by March 2019, a rise of 45%.

The Shared Data Unit has analysed the dementia registers of thousands of GP surgeries across the UK to paint a definitive regional picture. Across the North East and Yorkshire, the total amount of people on the dementia register has risen from 62,800 to 78,240, an increase of 25%

A drive to increase diagnosis rates and an ageing population were behind the increase, experts said. NHS England said it was a priority to diagnose dementia earlier so people could receive correct treatment.

In 2012, the government launched an initiative to increase the diagnosis rate of dementia. At the time, it was estimated only 40% of those living with the condition had been officially diagnosed.

Dementia care costs the UK just under £35bn per year. Two thirds of that is being footed by families rather than the government. Charities said care provision must improve, calling it a "ridiculous lottery".

NHS England said it was a priority to diagnose dementia earlier so people could receive correct treatment.

Dr Karen Harrison-Dening, head of research and publications at Dementia UK said: “Care at the moment is very hit or miss. There are no standardised services across the country so it is still very much a postcode lottery as to what care and support you might receive.

“We rely heavily on families to care for their loved ones themselves. They bear the brunt of the care and they bear the brunt of the financial burden. It has been likened to an extra financial tax for people with dementia.”

A spokesperson for NHS England said: “Spotting dementia in a timely way means people get the care they need, when they need it, so it’s good news that thanks to concerted efforts nationally and locally the NHS is now diagnosing more people than ever before, beating the target we set ourselves.

“As the population ages, dementia is becoming a challenge for more families, which is why the NHS Long Term Plan sets out a blueprint for older people’s care and makes early diagnosis and treatment for major health problems a top priority.”