I wrote about the growing problem of dementia only a week ago and stories are starting to appear in the press every other day. In fact I have been writing about the subject ever since I started this blog. (You can see all my earlier blogs by clicking on “Dementia ” in the Topics List.)
Perhaps it is finally dawning on everyone that this is a big issue which won’t go away and can’t be swept under the carpet. No doubt the politicians will soon set up a Commission to see what can be done. That will put off needing to do anything about it for several more years. Meanwhile sufferers get little or no help, other than from relatives who are often the first to notice the decline.
Six years ago I wrote a blog called “Left in the dark” about my concern that people were going undiagnosed by their GP’s, partly understandably, because of the lack of support available once the issue had been identified.
Now a six-year long research study at Cambridge University has echoed what I was saying. It found that a third of those affected have not been formally diagnosed and even those who are eventually diagnosed with the disease often wait three years before it is detected by their GP.
Yet I seem to remember David Cameron making this a priority for his Government. He launched a “Dementia Challenge” in 2012″ aimed at identifying more people with the disease. £10million was given for dementia research. Then in 2014 GP’s were offered a £55 bounty for every new case they identified. There was a 25% increase in those diagnosed with dementia between September 2014 and March 2015. A £4.4 million bonus for GP’s and another 80,000 older people condemned to a life of mental decline with very little further support. Subsequently it was estimated that as many as half of these new cases were not in fact dementia. The idea was quietly dropped after a year.
The Department of Health says it is investing £50million to make hospitals dementia friendly. Whatever that means ?
So much for politicians promises!