Cole-Hamilton: Thousands missing out on dementia support

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has warned thousands of people could be missing out on the dementia support they are entitled to, after new statistics showed a huge gap between its uptake and the number of people thought to be newly diagnosed.

Since 2013, the Scottish Government has committed to ensuring that those diagnosed with dementia are offered a minimum of one year of post-diagnostic support from a named dementia link worker.

ISD Scotland figures published today show 8,178 people were referred for dementia post-diagnostic support in 2016/17. This is thought to be just 47% of people estimated to be newly diagnosed with dementia during that period.

One in six people referred did not receive the minimum one year’s support. The completion rate varied from 56% in Lothian to 99% in Tayside.

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“The Scottish Government estimates that 17,500 people were newly diagnosed with dementia in 2016/17, yet only 8,000 people were referred for post-diagnostic support.

“A coordinated package of support can make a big difference to individual patients and their family as they understand and adjust to a diagnosis. A plan helps people live well with dementia, ensuring they are accessing the right services and finding the best ways to manage their symptoms.

“This target is being missed by a huge margin. The Health Secretary needs to urgently establish why thousands of people appear to be missing out on the support they are entitled to.”

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