State of the nation report reveals regional variations in the quality of dementia care

December 3rd 2013

A new report published by the Department of Health examines local differences in dementia care for the estimated 670,000 people in England living with the condition.

Complementing the report is an interactive map showing what the government currently knows about dementia care, support and research across the country.

The map allows users to search by postcode to find various statistics relating to dementia care in the community, in hospitals and how many places have signed up to become dementia friendly communities. It also offers an insight into diagnosis rates, how often anti-psychotic medication is prescribed and onward referral rates.

Commenting in the report, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, said: “As a nation, we need to wake up to what is fast becoming one of the greatest pressures on families, carers, and health and care systems.

“There has been some major progress. We are better at identifying and assessing people with dementia in hospitals and have responsibly reduced the prescription of antipsychotic medication. But it is unacceptable that less than half of people with dementia receive a diagnosis and that there is such variation across the country in how long people wait before being seen by a memory service. The availability of post-diagnosis support varies far too much as well.

“47 percent of people with dementia do not feel part of their community. They often experience anxiety and depression and three quarters do not feel society is geared up to deal with dementia. 62 percent of people with dementia living alone are lonely and it can sometimes be hard to access services, which only adds to this isolation.

“I am determined we make our fight against dementia global, so I am delighted the UK is hosting the first G8 dementia summit in December.”

Statistics from the report reveal that access to memory clinics has vastly improved in recent years, with around half of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia being in the early stages of the condition. Furthermore, government funded dementia research has increased to £52.2 million in 2012-2013.

Maizie Mears-Owen, head of dementia at Care UK, said: “This report and map provide a useful analysis of the progress being made with dementia care, but more must be done to close the gap between the best and worst performing regions.

“Offering people convenient and quick access to dementia diagnosis and care is crucial to efficiently managing the resources available in local communities. Early diagnosis means individuals and their families can plan ahead and take their time to make well-informed decisions about the care and support which best suits their needs.

“The forthcoming G8 dementia summit demonstrates how important tackling dementia has become and I am confident that we will see further improvements in minimising the impact the condition has on society.”

Maizie was recently invited to share her hopes for the G8 dementia summit on the Dementia Challenge website. In her blog she discusses why a focus on dementia care in the community should be a priority and how wellbeing centres will become increasingly important in tackling the issue of social isolation.

Care UK has a long track record in providing excellent dementia care. Its dementia services help people to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives.