Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has warned over 10,000 people missed out on the dementia support they are entitled to, after statistics showed a widening gap between 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.
Public Health Scotland figures now show that 8,144 people were referred for dementia post-diagnostic support in 2019/20. This was only 42% of people estimated to be newly diagnosed with dementia during that period.
Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
“Dementia has heart-breaking consequences for those diagnosed and their families. A co-ordinated package of support is critical to ensure people with dementia can understand and adjust to their diagnosis. A plan helps people live well with dementia. It will ensure they are accessing the right services and find the best ways to manage symptoms.
“Despite commitment after commitment from the SNP Government, these figures show progress going backwards pre-pandemic. It’s estimated that 19,000 people were newly diagnosed with dementia but just 8,000 were referred for support.
“Like cancer patients and young people needing CAMHS, thousands of people diagnosed with dementia appear to be missing out on the help they are entitled to.
“The Health Secretary needs to urgently get on top of this and honour the commitment the government have made to supporting them.”