A new dementia Atlas, which is published by the government, has revealed a patchy NHS care for the condition in and around England. Although there are some regions on the map that appear to meet the national standards in terms of offering regular reviews or support, others actually fall short, states the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He states that tackling the disease was the main priority and the new Atlas must be driving improvements. Charities stated that the postcode lottery of care was not acceptable.
The Atlas maps 5 themes of care and they are prevention, diagnosis, support, living with dementia and then the end of life care by using standard benchmarks for each and everything. An example for this is that each and every person who is living with dementia must have an annual checkup for reviewing their care needs.
In some of the areas of England, like Aylesbury or North East Lincolnshire, around 80% of patients get direct meetings. In rest of the areas, the number is much lesser. For example, in Somerset, the figure is around 40%. The regional variation in the population density as well as age can explain some of the differences, but not all.
George McNamara, who is from the Alzheimer’s Society Charity, stated that the causes of variation have to be properly investigated to make sure that the care is never a kind of gamble.
Caroline Abrahams, who is from Age UK stated that in some areas the team is aware that the help is really good; however, in other places the services are definitely great with just a few people who are receiving at least an yearly review of their care following the diagnosis. She went on to add that this is really unacceptable postcode lottery of the care.
She added that they have continued the efforts to improvise both the access to as well as the quality of care for the increasing number of us who are living with dementia. There are around 670,000 people who are living with dementia in UK and this number is expected to increase.
Mr. Hunt stated that by publishing the present levels of care they are shining a spotlight on areas where there is much work to be done and highlighting where we will be able to learn from the best practice. The Atlas also displays which areas of England are dementia-friendly communities and which places have taken efforts for making life easier for those with dementia.