Dementia diagnosis rates drop during pandemic
A UCL study publishing on Friday 18 May, has shown that during the pandemic, fewer dementia diagnoses have been made compared to previous years.
Alzheimer’s Society’s analysis of NHS Digital data showed that:
- New GP assessments over the last 12 months (June 2020 – May 2021) have fallen 38% in comparison to the previous year (June 2019 to May 2020).
- New Memory Assessment Service (MAS) referrals over the last 12 months (June 2020 – May 2021) have fallen 22% in comparison to the previous year (June 2019 to May 2020).
- New MAS assessments over the last 12 months (June 2020 – May 2021) have fallen 50% in comparison to the previous year (June 2019 to May 2020).
- May 2021 diagnosis rate: 61.8%. Need to now diagnose 33,595 to get back to national ambition of two-thirds.
James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society said:
'People with dementia have been worst hit by the pandemic, and without a diagnosis they can’t unlock the vital support they need to live well. The NHS backlog is only going to make it harder for them to get a diagnosis to open the door to further health and care support.
'Alzheimer’s Society’s analysis shows people with dementia have been struggling to access GPs and memory clinics during the pandemic – with GP assessments down 38% and memory clinic assessments down 50% in the last 12 months. That means there are 33,595 people with dementia who need a diagnosis for England to reach the national target for diagnosis rates again.
'People with dementia need to be prioritised as we emerge from the pandemic. We welcome the Government’s investment of £17 million to support increasing diagnosis rates, but we need to see detail on how it will be used, and confirmation that it is targeted to where the most people are in need of support.'