Dementia care branded ‘hit or miss’ as diagnosis rates increase across Hertfordshire and beyond

The number of people on the dementia register in Hertfordshire has skyrocketed since 2014. Picture:

The number of people on the dementia register in Hertfordshire has skyrocketed since 2014. Picture: Pablo_K/GettyImages - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

After statistics show the number of people on the dementia register increasing since 2014, a senior figure from a specialist charity has strongly criticised the current care situation.

The statistics, released by the BBC Shared Data Unit, show a rise in the total number of people in England on the dementia register, up from 332,000 in 2014 to 470,000 last year.

For Hertfordshire, NHS East and North Herts Clinical Commissioning Group had 2,839 people on the dementia register in 2014, which rose to 4,703 by March 2019.

Herts Valleys CCG recorded the third highest increase in the East of England over the five-year period, with the number of those registered with dementia rising from 2,637 to 5,071 - a 92 per cent spike.

Reflecting on the statistics, Karen Harrison Dening - head of research at Dementia UK - said: "I think there are two issues here. The first is that we have a huge increase in population of older people, one of dementia's main risk factors is age.

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"The second element is there is a huge population that already has dementia. There is a growing number of those people that we have a duty of care to.

"Care at the moment is very hit or miss. There are no standardised services across the country so it's still a postcode lottery as to what care and support you might receive."

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The eastern region as a whole recorded the highest percentage increase of any in England with 53 per cent, narrowly topping London (52 per cent) and the South East (51 per cent).

A spokesperson for NHS England said: "Spotting dementia in a timely way means people get the care they need, when they need it, so it's good news that the NHS is 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."

Mrs Harrison Dening added: "If you developed cancer later in life, the NHS would step in. But the NHS doesn't provide the same level of care and treatment as for other diseases and conditions.

"A third of us will die with or from dementia. This is an issue that needs tackling now."

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