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13.02.18

A third of people with dementia diagnosis don’t get NHS follow-up support

Thousands of patients are not getting the follow-up care they are entitled to following a dementia diagnosis, a charity has said.

According to Age UK, over one in three people with the condition don’t have a care plan, despite the NHS specifying that everyone diagnosed with dementia should have an individual care plan that is reviewed at least once a year.

Analysis of data from over 7,000 GP practices in England showed that, of 458,461 people who had a recorded diagnosis of dementia in November 2017, only 282,573 had a new care plan or at least one care plan review on record in the last year.

The charity said that these plans are the “gateway to follow-up support from the NHS” and ensure joined-up support from other bodies such as social care services.

“Our analysis suggests that many people with dementia are losing out on the NHS follow-up support they need and are supposed always to be offered, once they have received their diagnosis” said Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director.

“As a result, they and their loved ones are missing precious opportunities to get help with living as well as possible with the disease.”

With the number of people living with dementia estimated to hit one million by 2020, Age UK has warned of an urgent and growing need to provide much better support for those who have been told they have the condition.

An NHS England spokesman said: “The NHS has worked hard to dramatically increase the number of people receiving a formal dementia diagnosis so they can access the right care and support.

“A care plan is only part of high-quality dementia support, which is why we have introduced new measures to help local NHS groups and GPs plan for ongoing care and will continue to help deliver further improvements.”

The charity’s latest report highlights a number of “evidenced and cost-effective” projects that make a difference for dementia patients, which it argues could be replicated by care bodies, including NHS trusts.

These include arts and crafts activities, counselling sessions and dance-based therapy.

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