Devon MP Ben Bradshaw says dementia not properly diagnosed

People suffering with dementia in south-west England are not being properly diagnosed until it is too late, a Devon MP has said.

During a House of Commons debate, Exeter’s Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw, said the region had the lowest formal diagnosis rates in England.

He added that, in Devon, only a third of patients were correctly diagnosed.

The government said that improving dementia services and treatment remained a priority.

Society issue

Mr Bradshaw said: “Given that the south-west has a higher proportion of elderly people, and therefore more dementia sufferers, this must be extremely worrying.

“According to the minister’s own figures, there are nearly 9,000 people in Devon who have not being diagnosed.”

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said there had been “significant signs of progress” in tackling dementia.

“There is evidence of a lot of hard work being done by the NHS, leading to significant increases in diagnosis rates,” he said.

But he added that, with an ageing population, it was one of the biggest issues society faced.

Following the debate, Mr Burstow said the government launched a dementia challenge in March.

“It includes ambitious plans to increase diagnosis rates and provide better services for people with dementia,” he said.

He added that funding into research on dementia was being doubled.

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