Alzheimer’s Research UK is calling for continued improvements in the way the UK diagnoses and treats dementia after a record number of people were diagnosed with dementia last month. The announcement from NHS England showed an increase of 7% in diagnoses since 2016.
Getting an early and accurate diagnosis is vital for families impacted by dementia to get support and access available resources. However, the figures show an increasing need to acknowledge the impact of dementia on UK communities and the health system and to scale up efforts to meet this challenge.
Alzheimer’s Research UK has committed to lead a dramatic change in how we detect the diseases that cause dementia so we can diagnose them before symptoms begin – an estimated 15-20 years earlier than we do today.
Helen Davies, Head of Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The rising number of dementia diagnoses demonstrates that dementia, already the leading cause of death, is not a health crisis that will go away on its own. We must revolutionise the way we diagnose and treat the diseases that cause dementia to better equip the NHS to improve people’s lives.
“We know that future dementia treatments will bring significant improvements to quality of life but will also have a major impact on our health system. That’s why Alzheimer’s Research UK and our Dementia Access Taskforce are working to ensure the NHS can take on new diagnostic tools and treatments as soon as possible.”
“By increasing government investment in dementia research to equal just 1% of the annual cost of dementia, we can capitalise on research happening today and speed up the effort to bring about life-changing treatments.”
Dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK and costs over £26bn each year.