The NHS have been told they need to push for dementia diagnoses to increase so that by 2015, two out of three cases will be identified. A senior advisor on public health has said that cases of dementia could be halved if more was done in regards to prevention.
The government has revealed that the current dementia diagnosis rate is just 45% in England. The issue was initially raised a year ago in the prime minister’s “challenge on dementia” which instigated a programme looking to improve care, encourage research and promote public understanding of the disease.
A recent progress report from NHS England has stated that diagnoses rates should rise by over 20% by 2015. This would bring England’s diagnoses rate in line with Northern Ireland and Scotland.
This progress report coincides with a call from Dr Charles Alessi for emphasis to be placed on dementia prevention. Dr Alessi is the chairman of the National Association of Primary Care and an adviser for Public Health England.
The amount of people in England currently suffering with dementia is estimated to be in excess of 670,000 – a figure that is set to double in the next 30 years. According to Dr Alessi, this number could be halved by focussing on prevention, including the identification of risks associated with vascular dementia.
Dr Alessi believes a simple mental agility assessment needs to be one of the range of tests routinely offered by the NHS Health Check after people turn 40.
“This condition – which we thought was hopeless, and all we could offer was more dignity and respect and more treatment which is very important – can also be delayed. That is amazing. We can influence this so I think we should.”
If you are dealing with dementia, discussing your fears or frustrations with a counsellor could help you cope with your situation. For more information and to find a counsellor near you, please see our Dementia page.
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