Published on 15 January 2013 03:30 PM
Figures released today show that Northern Ireland has amongst the best diagnosis rates in the UK for dementia.
Minister Poots has welcomed the news saying: “Northern Ireland has one of the highest rates of diagnosis in the UK, along with Scotland. Two of our local HSC Trusts (Belfast and Western) were in fact the 1st and 5th best ranked areas respectively for rates of diagnosis across the whole of the UK.”
The figures, from the Alzheimer’s Society study entitled ‘Mapping the Dementia Gap’, show that Northern Ireland has a diagnosis rate of 63% (11’800 people) which is just marginally below Scotland (64.4%) and well above the UK average of 46%.
The Minister added: “The Alzheimer’s Society study indicates that we appear to be more complete than the other countries in terms of our recording of dementia. Fundamentally, higher recording means that people’s needs are being recognised by GPs, and that is something which we all should welcome.
“Early diagnosis for people with dementia is vitally important and I would like to commend GPs and Health & Social Care staff here in Northern Ireland for striving to identify and diagnosis those people living with dementia. I would stress however, that we must continue to improve these rates as there are still nearly 40% of people without a diagnosis.
“The regional dementia strategy, which I published in November 2011, addresses the importance of early diagnosis and identifies the need to draw up criteria and clear protocols for referral from GPs to memory services for diagnosis. We are continuing work to implement the strategy to achieve such aims.”
The Minister concluded saying: “I would also support the message from the Alzheimer’s Society for people to seek help and advice early, from their GP or the Society themselves, should they be concerned about dementia.”