Dementia care ‘patchy’

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HEALTH chiefs say care is improving in Wigan borough for dementia victims despite claims of gaps in services.

The standard of care provided for people with dementia is “patchy”, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has said.

Some people with the condition were not getting even basic levels of care, it added.

The warning came as NICE unveiled new standards for dementia care in England, covering issues such as housing and access to leisure services.

NICE deputy chief executive Prof Gillian Leng said: “The general picture is that care is patchy.

“We know that it is really good in places but it’s not consistent.

“My personal view is that we are all playing catch-up because the number of people with dementia has been increasing so dramatically.”

However, Wigan health chiefs say more people than ever are being diagnosed in the borough.

Dr Kate Ardern, executive director of public health for the borough of Wigan (pictured), said: “Latest figures show that more people are being diagnosed with dementia across Wigan borough which is a good thing because early diagnosis of dementia means that people can make their own choices about their lives and about their treatment before the onset of the disease.

“Another reason is that treatments are now available that if administered in the early stages can help to slow the progression of the disease.

“So it is very important that people visit their GP as soon as they feel they may have any symptoms of dementia.”

In January figures revealed that Wigan has a 46 per cent diagnosis rate, which the Alzheimer’s society say is not good enough. The map reveals that there are 3,354 people in the borough who have dementia, of which 1,800 remain undiagnosed.

The society predict this number to rise to 4,532 by 2021.

Jeremy Hughes, the chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s disgraceful that more than half of all people with dementia are not receiving a diagnosis, and disappointing to see such a disparity in diagnosis rates in different regions of the UK.

“This goes against best clinical practice and is preventing people with dementia from accessing the support, benefits and the medical treatments that can help them live well with the condition.”

The charity said one explanation was variation in “stigma”, which resulted in people not visiting their GP.