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Number of dementia cases rises sharply

62% rise in dementia cases in past seven years

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 31 July 2014

The number of patients with a recorded diagnosis of dementia has risen sharply by 62% over seven years in England.

New provisional figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that 344,000 patients had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in 2013-14.

This rose from 213,000 in 2006-07, when the data was first collected, and increased from 319,000 in 2012-13.

It is estimated that one in three people over 65 will develop dementia and there are around 800,000 people in the UK with a form of dementia, more than half having Alzheimer’s disease.

HSCIC’s statistics show the numbers of patients registered with GP practices in England who have a recorded diagnosis of dementia.

The report Quality Outcomes Framework, Recorded Dementia Diagnoses - 2013-14, Provisional statistics, shows the increase in recorded diagnosis has been steady since this data was first collected. The data in the report are based on approximately 8,000 GP practices.

The HSCIC said the rise could be due to a growing ageing population, an increase in the number of people being diagnosed, improved recording of diagnoses or a combination of factors.

The report also shows there was regional variation in the level of recorded diagnosis, with the North and South having the highest levels at 0.68% and 0.67%, the Midlands and East of England at 0.62% and London (which has a lower age profile) lower at 0.39%.

When looking at variation in levels of recorded diagnosis by CCG, the CCG with the highest level at March of this year was the Isle of Wight at 1.1%, where almost half (46.4%) of all patients registered with GPs are aged 50 and over.

The lowest recorded level was in Tower Hamlets CCG in London, at 0.25% where only 15.5% of all patients are 50 or over.

The Department of Health has said it wants to increase the proportion of people with dementia who have a recorded diagnosis so that they can receive the appropriate care and support.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: "We are all aware of the challenges facing our ageing population and these figures will be vital for those planning and monitoring the effectiveness of dementia treatments and services."

George Mcnamara, head of policy and public affairs at Alzheimer’s Society said: “More people with dementia may now be known by their GP and registered as having the condition, but the stark reality is that hundreds of thousands still face the life-altering diagnosis of dementia alone, without any support or information.

“Whilst a rise in diagnosis does show progress, over half of people living with dementia still do not have one. With an ageing population and more people developing the condition, diagnosing dementia must remain a priority.

“Whilst it is one of the most feared conditions for those over 55, everyone has a right to know they are living with dementia and deserves the chance to access available treatments and support.”

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