More diagnosed with dementia but half suffer without any help

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THE number of people diagnosed with dementia in Yorkshire has risen but over half of those with the condition do not have a diagnosis and receive little or no support, according to health campaigners.

Nationally, the number of people diagnosed with dementia has soared in the last seven years, new figures show.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said the number of patients with a recorded diagnosis of dementia has increased by 62 per cent.

In 2013-14 there were 344,000 people in England who had received a diagnosis – up from 213,000 in 2006-07.

The rise could be attributed to an ageing population, improved recording in diagnosis or a number of other factors, the HSCIC said.

A regional breakdown of the figures for the last seven years was not available but in the North Yorkshire/Humber area the number of people registered with dementia rose from 10,337 in 2012-13 to 11,468 last year.

In South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, the number diagnosed rose from 10,501 to 11,302 over the same period and in West Yorkshire the figure increased from 14,095 to 15,331.

Judith Gregory, the Alzheimer’s Society charity operations manager for Yorkshire, said thousands of people were still dealing with dementia without any help.

“More people with dementia may now be known by their GP and are registered as having the condition, but the stark reality is that hundreds of thousands still face the life-altering diagnosis alone, without any support or information on how to cope,” she said.

“The small rise in diagnosis rates in Yorkshire does show progress, but over half of people living with dementia still do not have one.

“With an ageing population and more people developing the condition, diagnosing dementia has to be a priority.

“Dementia touches everyone’s lives with most people having a friend or relative who is affected by this cruel disease.

“It is also one of the most feared conditions for those over 55 and Alzheimer’s Society firmly believes that everyone has a right to know they are living with dementia and need to be able to access available treatments and support to help them to live as well as possible with the illness.”

HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning said: “We are all aware of the challenges facing our ageing population and these figures will be vital for those planning and monitoring the effectiveness of dementia treatments and services.”

Hilary Evans, director of external affairs at the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “These new statistics do not tell us how many people are living with the condition in total as not every case is currently diagnosed, but they do give us some idea of the scale of the challenge in England.

“This report does not set out to investigate the reasons for the rising figures, but it’s likely that recent moves to improve dementia diagnosis rates, along with an ageing population, will have contributed to this increase.

“Dementia is one of the most feared conditions for many, but an accurate and timely diagnosis can be important for people to be able to access support and existing treatments – as well as helping people to make sense of the symptoms that they are experiencing.

“These latest figures further underline the urgent need for better treatments to help the hundreds of thousands of people who are affected by this devastating condition.”