Estimate puts dementia diagnosis at 20,000 every year by 2020

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More needs to be done to tackle Scotland’s “biggest health and social care challenge”, according to dementia campaigners.

The comments followed the publication this week of a new report assessing the number of dementia diagnoses in Scotland which found that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020.

The study used a new model which could be implemented across Europe to gain a better estimate of those people newly diagnosed with the condition.

It will also be used to further the government’s understanding and help in the planning, provision and re-designing of dementia services.

Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “This is the most accurate assessment ever of the situation in Scotland and is crucial as we look to meet the needs of people living with dementia, or are newly diagnosed with the condition.

“This will help us to plan for the future and ensure that anyone with dementia in Scotland receives the care they need.

“We are transforming the way we treat dementia so more people have their independence for longer and we will use these figures to continue our work towards greater supported self-management at home.”

The government has committed to publishing a new dementia strategy in the new year and Dr Calderwood added that this will continue the national focus on supporting better diagnosis rates, embedding post-diagnostic and integrated home-based services, and developing better palliative and end of life services for patients, families and carers.

Jim Pearson, Alzheimer Scotland’s policy and research director, said: “We welcome the publication of this report from the Scottish Government. This marks a clear recognition of the value of dementia research and of Scotland specific research data.

“There has been a lot of positive progress but these figures show there is a great deal still to do and we need to rise to what is Scotland’s biggest health and social care challenge. The research will enable us to better work together with our partners, to focus resources and to plan the right services and supports for people living with dementia, their carers and their families.”