Dementia care gaps to be exposed
Published on 29 November 2013 02:00 PM
Plans to improve dementia care will include an online map to expose 'poorly performing' areas, the health secretary has announced.
Jeremy Hunt says dementia is still not being detected early enough, and a Government map will aim to highlight discrepancies across England.
This would enable failing areas to learn from better performing ones, he claims, in order to tackle what he describes as a health and care 'time bomb'.
Fewer than half (48%) of people living with dementia have been diagnosed, according to official figures.
Dementia ‘still not being detected early enough'
Over the past two years only a 2 percentage point improvement in this figure has been achieved - up from 46%.
The best performing areas have diagnosed almost twice as many people as the worst performing - 75% compared with 39%.
Referral and diagnosis rates will be depicted on the map, as well as the prescribing rates for anti-psychotic medication.
Around 670,000 people are living with dementia in England, and a 'state of the nation' report has addressed treatment and care around the condition ahead of a G8 summit in December.
Dementia care ‘one of the UK's biggest challenges'
The summit, in London, was called for by Prime Minister David Cameron, amid predictions by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that treble the number of people will be living with dementia worldwide by 2050 - some 115.4 million.
By the end of 2020, the UK figure is expected to pass the million mark, due to the ageing population.
Mr Hunt said dementia care was one of the UK's biggest challenges and the map would help drive up standards of care across the country, by 'challenging' badly performing areas to emulate more successful areas.
Government-funded research has been almost doubled
'Full transparency is the best way to drive up standards and tackle poor performance,' said Mr Hunt, adding: 'We must come together as a society to get better at fighting dementia. We all have a role to play in helping people manage dementia better and supporting them to lead healthier lives.'
Government-funded research has been almost doubled, according to the 'state of the nation' dementia report, and there has been a four-fold increase in the number of people being assessed by memory clinics. Training in how to spot early symptoms has also been given to 108,000 NHS staff.
However Liz Kendall, who is shadow minister for care and older people, said: 'If David Cameron was serious about improving the quality of dementia care, he would not have cut council budgets for older people's social care to the bone.'
Copyright Press Association 2013