One in three people over the age of 65 will develop dementia. There are 800,000 people in the UK diagnosed with dementia, with 665,000 of this number in England. (Alzheimer’s Society 2013)
Dementia is a progressive condition, although people can live with it for 7-12 years after diagnosis, if it is diagnosed early enough. However, on average, less than half of people living with the condition have a formal diagnosis (DoH 2013; Alzheimer’s Society 2013).
Among the over-55s, dementia is feared more than any other illness. And at an estimated £19 billion a year, the cost to economy is huge. It is estimated that this is higher than the costs of cancer, heart disease or stroke. There is not only a moral imperative to improve dementia care; there is a strong financial one too.
With an ageing population it is predicted that the number of people with dementia in the UK over the next 30 years will double to 1.4 million, with costs trebling to over £50 billion per year. This will place an unsustainable burden on patients, carers and health and social care resources over the long term.
The West Midlands Strategic Clinical Network Dementia project will determine what services are currently in place against services that should be available in a quality dementia pathway, from diagnosis to end of life care, whether the system is in a position to deliver what is required of it and how it might utilize existing good practice if it is not.