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Dementia care is a postcode lottery

3 July 2012

Dementia care is a postcode lottery

A recent Department of Health report revealed that depending on where you live, someone living with dementia could be 53 times less likely to receive the much-needed drugs to combat the condition.
In the worst affected areas of Hereford, Leicestershire and Wiltshire; only 0.03 prescription items per patient are handed out compared to 1.6 in Hampshire, North Yorkshire and Shropshire. The variance in treatment differs 53 fold and clearly illustrates that location does play a big part in the treatment of the condition.

In order to start treatment you first need a diagnosis which, according to the report, is also dependent on location. In Devon, Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire and Somerset, only a quarter of dementia patients have ever been diagnosed compared to Hampshire and Cumbria, where 59% of all cases are picked up. This is a significant difference and, with more Britons developing dementia year on year, really needs to be remedied. Currently there are around 766,000 people suffering from dementia in England but campaigners believe that 60% of cases go undiagnosed leaving relatives and friends to cope with no support.

Rebecca Wood, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘It’s a shame that there is still such inconsistency in diagnosis and treatment around the country. It will take the collective will of people with dementia and health professionals to create a culture where dementia is recognised swiftly and acted upon. A diagnosis can help people with dementia access support services and treatments to help them maintain independent living for as long as possible.’