Residents throughout the area will welcome the news Greater Glasgow’s health board has been named Britain’s best for the diagnosis and early treatment of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society has compiled a UK Dementia Map, which reveals people in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde region are being diagnosed and treated for dementia faster than anywhere else in the country. More than 70 per cent of people with dementia are now diagnosed in Greater Glasgow, compared to the national average that sees just 41 per cent of Britain’s dementia sufferers diagnosed.
Dr Graham Jackson, the health board’s associate medical director for old age psychiatry, said: “These independent findings show that our rigorous management of community dementia services is paying real dividends for our patients.
“Early diagnosis is essential. Whist we cannot reverse the effects of dementia there are medications which if started early enough can slow down the development of symptoms so people can maintain their quality of life for longer and have a say in their future care and treatment.”
Dementia affects all sections of society regardless of gender, race or socio-economic status, but people can go undiagnosed and untreated for years. NHS Greater Glasgow’s performance was judged based on the percentage of predicted dementia suffers to have been diagnosed in the population of the area.
Henry Simmons, the chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “It is extremely encouraging to see NHS Greater Glasgow’s achievement in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of people with dementia.
“There are two Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Nurses in the area, as well as many recently-graduated Dementia Champions – all of whom work with their NHS colleagues to improve understanding of this illness and care for those affected by it. We still have a long way to go to make sure that no-one has to face dementia on their own, but Greater Glasgow’s health service is clearly moving in the right direction.”
Dr Jackson added: “We have been working extremely hard to meet the needs of those with dementia and to directly benefit patients by ensuring they are diagnosed quickly and receive treatment early. Alongside Alzheimer Scotland, in primary care and in mental health teams across the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, we have been raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of dementia so people can speak to their GP as soon as they have concerns.
“A steering group oversees the planning of community dementia care across the whole health board area this has enabled us to identify hotspots where diagnosis rates were lower than anticipated so that these could be directly targeted. Our success, on which we will continue to build, is testament to the hard work of a whole range of community healthcare teams including GPs and mental health practitioners.”
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