Shocking rise of dementia cases in Harlow

Health / Thu 19th Dec 2019 at 09:43am

CASES of dementia in the health region that covers Harlow have risen by over 100%.

In April 2014, there were 1387 cases in the area covered by the West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). By March 2019, this figure had risen to 2783. An increase of 101%.

Latest figures show there were around 508,000 people on the dementia register of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A drive to increase diagnosis rates and an ageing population were behind the increase, experts said. NHS England said it was a priority to diagnose dementia earlier so people could receive correct treatment.

In 2012, the government launched an initiative to increase the diagnosis rate of dementia. At the time, it was estimated only 40% of those living with the condition had been officially diagnosed.

Dementia care costs the UK just under £35bn per year. Two thirds of that is being footed by families rather than the government. Charities said care provision must improve, calling it a “ridiculous lottery”.

NHS England said it was a priority to diagnose dementia earlier so people could receive correct treatment.

Dr.Karen Harrison-Dening, head of research and publications at Dementia UK said: “Care at the moment is very hit or miss. There are no standardised services across the country so it is still very much a postcode lottery as to what care and support you might receive.

“We rely heavily on families to care for their loved ones themselves. They bear the brunt of the care and they bear the brunt of the financial burden. It has been likened to an extra financial tax for people with dementia.

Professor Sube Banerjee, executive dean at Plymouth University’s Faculty of Health and professor of dementia, said: “What you’re seeing there is a reflection in the figures of NHS England’s strong priority to increase the diagnosis rate of people with dementia.

“Dementia research has less funding than cancer research. There is wide agreement that there is a need to increase the amount of research spent on dementia nationally and internationally.

The total amount of people on the dementia register has risen from 37,000 to 56,500, an increase of 53%

Places with the largest percentage increases include:

West Essex (101%)
Castle Point and Rochford (99%)
Herts Valleys (92%)
North East Essex (81%)
Norwich (73%)

A NHS England spokesperson said: “Spotting dementia in a timely way means people get the care they need, when they need it, so it’s good news that thanks to concerted efforts nationally and locally the NHS is now diagnosing more people than ever before, beating the target we set ourselves.

“As the population ages, dementia is becoming a challenge for more families, which is why the NHS Long Term Plan sets out a blueprint for older people’s care and makes early diagnosis and treatment for major health problems a top priority.”


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