Plea for more support services after almost a third of Norfolk and Suffolk GPs say there is little point diagnosing dementia

Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance launch event in Norwich. Willie Cruickshank of Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance

Friday, November 22, 2013
11:36 AM

Calls have been made to improve support for people with dementia after almost a third of Norfolk and Suffolk GPs surveyed said there was little point in diagnosing the condition because of a lack of support services.

NHS chiefs have called on the dementia diagnosis rate, which is currently around 40pc, to be raised to 66pc by 2015.

However, the results of a new survey by the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance, revealed that 29pc of GPs questioned said that there was little point in diagnosing people with dementia because there were inadequate or no support services in their area. More than 100 GPs from across Norfolk and Suffolk responded to the questionnaire, which was coordinated by the University of East Anglia.

Willie Cruickshank, director of the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance, said he was pleased to see GPs’ attitudes changing with 81pc disagreeing with a statement that there was little point in diagnosing dementia because there was no cure.

He added that there was a “postcode lottery” in post diagnosis support with some areas offering dementia cafes, information and becoming dementia friendly communities and other areas that offered absolutely nothing.

“The greatest benefit to getting a dementia diagnosis is accessing the services to help to live well with the condition. Our GPs are saying there is no point because there are not the services to send them to.”

“One of the biggest issues is that there is not one organisation responsible for post diagnosis support. It is not necessarily health or necessarily social care,” he said.

Mr Cruickshank added that support did not need to be complex and dementia cafes helped give patients, carers and families the information they need.

The dementia alliance is looking to invest £200,000 in helping to establish around 30 community dementia learning hubs across the two counties to give more support to patients and their carers. He added that the hubs would aim to build on places that already had dementia cafes and had become or were becoming dementia friendly communities such as Wymondham, Swaffham and Wells.

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