Dementia cases rise in the North East - with some areas having the highest rates in England

New figures have revealed that some parts of the North East have the highest rates of dementia diagnosis in England

Alison Davison from Morpeth Northumberland whose husband Glenn died from familial Alzheimer's
Alison Davison from Morpeth Northumberland whose husband Glenn died from familial Alzheimer's

Dementia cases in the North East are on the rise as more people are being diagnosed with the condition.

New figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed that some parts of the region have the highest rates of dementia diagnosis in England.

NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had the highest number of sufferers in the North East in March 2014 with 0.93% of patients diagnosed with dementia. This was closely followed by NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG at 0.84%.

Rob Stewart, North East communications and media officer for the 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.”

The statistics show the numbers of patients registered with GP practices who have a recorded diagnosis of dementia. It is the first report of its kind.

The findings come at a time when the Government policy on dementia care will be based on a study done in the North East. Prime Minister David Cameron has urged an increase in funding for research and treatment following the report, published by the Northern Rock Foundation.

Mother-of-three Alison Davison, from Morpeth, Northumberland, was left heartbroken when her husband Glenn died in his early fifties from dementia.

The nurse said: “There is more information about dementia and I think that it is perhaps one of the reasons as to why more people are being diagnosed.

“There is not as much stigma about dementia than there used to be and more people aware of the disease. Dementia can have a devastating impact on families and relationships, so any research or studies done into the condition is a good thing.”

Nationally, the number of people diagnosed with dementia has soared in the last seven years. In 2013/14 there were 344,000 people in England who had received a diagnosis - up from 213,000 in 2006/7.

The rise could be attributed to an ageing population, improved recording in diagnosis or a number of other factors, the HSCIC 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,” said HSCIC chairman Kingsley Manning.

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