Dementia Issues in the UK

Providing Care
5 min read
Mark. OPlaceholder profile image

The head of Alzheimer's Research UK has called for the government to do more to deal with the increasing pressure dementia is putting on the economy, society as a whole, and the NHS.

The root of the issue, as highlighted in the report Tipping Point: The Future of Dementia, is inconsistencies with diagnosis rates in different NHS Trust areas. An example highlighted was the 53% diagnosis rate for dementia in Hertfordshire and Worcestershire compared to the 73% rate in South Yorkshire. Reasons for the variations have been said to be a lack of diagnostic tests and the unwillingness of doctors to actually offer a diagnosis.

The report goes on to suggest that the benefits to all involved from increasing the annual testing rates from 2,000 tests to 20,000 tests would be well worth the additional investment. Lack of diagnosis puts additional strain on the patients themselves, their loved ones who might be struggling with informal care arrangements, the NHS infrastructure itself, and governmental policymakers who have an incomplete picture of the state of dementia sufferers and care in the UK.

If more people received a correct diagnosis of dementia, then allowances for their care could be made that reduce the frequency and duration of hospital visits, and this could all be taken into account by those managing care provision. A better picture of the numbers and details of those suffering with dementia would also be invaluable for those involved in clinical research.

Until a patient has that proper diagnosis of dementia, it can be difficult for them to access the support and care they require, which quickly degrades their quality of life and that of their close relatives. It can also be hard on professional carers who may not recognise or be qualified to handle the needs of those they are caring for.