New figures reveal more than half Gloucestershire people living with dementia are not diagnosed
3:41pm Monday 14th January 2013 in News
FIGURES released today reveal that Gloucestershire has the highest number of people with dementia of any county in the south west but also one of the highest diagnosis rates in the region.
In Gloucestershire, 4,037 people were diagnosed with dementia last year - a rise of more than 500 over 2011 - with a further 4,800 people thought to have the condition but not yet diagnosed. This equates to a diagnosis rate in the county of 45.5 percent, one of the highest in the south west.
In South Gloucestershire lastyear there were 1,187 people diagnosed with dementia, compared to a figure of 3,255 thought to have the condition, a diagnosis rate of just 36.5 percent, one of the lowest in the south west.
The new figures from the Alzheimers Society reveal national variations ranging from a diagnosis rate of 32 per cent (East Riding of Yorkshire) to 75 percent (Belfast).
There are also significant variations in the diagnosis rates across the south west with the lowest diagnosis rate being in Dorset (32 percent) and the highest being in bordering Bournemouth and Poole (54 percent).
Debbie Donnison, area manager for Alzheimer’s Society in the South West said: "It’s encouraging to see an increase in the number people that are receiving a diagnosis in the South West – but more than half of people that are living with dementia aren’t receiving the support, benefits and treatments that are often available.
"The NHS has made a commitment to improving diagnosis rates so now it is time for that commitment to turn into action locally, to help ensure people in the south west can live well with the condition.
"Many new services have recently been commissioned for people with dementia across the south west which we hope will have a positive impact on diagnosis rates over the next 12 months."
Over the last year, Alzheimer’s Society has worked with Tesco to run a Dementia Roadshow which has toured the UK. The charity is also distributing thousands of leaflets about the importance of diagnosis to GP surgeries and other community facilities in the south west at the end of January.
The charity’s advice is to speak to your GP if you are worried about your memory and experiencing symptoms such as: struggling to remember recent events (despite being able to recall things that happened in the past), finding it difficult to follow conversations or programmes on TV, having problems thinking and reasoning and regularly forgetting the names of friends or everyday objects.
People who are worried about their memory can also contact Alzheimer’s Society on 0300 222 1122 or can visit www.alzheimers.org.uk/memoryworry