Dementia concerns after coronavirus pandemic hits Doncaster services

Health bosses have drawn up an action plan after the number of patients diagnosed with dementia in the borough nosedived.

Saturday, 5th December 2020, 12:30 pm

The number of cases diagnosed plunged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with the Dementia Diagnosis Rate dropping from 73.2 per cent diagnosis in February to 65 per cent in September.

The Dementia Diagnosis Rate is data comparing the number of people, aged 65 and over, thought to have dementia with the number of people diagnosed with dementia.

Michele Clarke, strategy and delivery manager, told Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group’s board of governors meeting, said: “We are aware, and we want the figures to get back up.

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Health bosses have drawn up an action plan after the number of patients diagnosed with dementia in Doncaster nosedived.

"We have dropped below the figure which is the national ambition which is 66.6 per cent.”

She said Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Healthcare Trust stopped doing the diagnostic procedures for dementia in March, and it was not re-introduced again until August. At that point there were 243 awaiting assessment.

The figure is now down to 89 awaiting assessment, accoring to the figures at the meeting.

She said the plan would involve an awareness campaign outlining the signs and symptoms of dementia, and encouraging people to see their family doctor if there was a concern.

Documents stated that the percentage of people estimated to have dementia in Doncaster who have received a diagnosis rose slightly in October, but added Covid-19 had impacted the ability to provide CT scans and face to face assessments which means diagnoses have slowed since April 2020.

Resumption of scanning has resumed and staff have started visiting their patients in home settings to reduce risk, the documents added.

Dr Manju Pande, who represents doctors in the South of Doncaster on the board said it was necessary to raise awareness that having a diagnosis did not mean that patients would end up in a care home.

"It is important that people realise it’s not the end of the road,” she said.

Director of Strategy and Delivery, Anthony Fitzgerald, said: “We’ve got a good record of partership work in dementia in Doncaster and I’m confident we can recover this position.

"It’s disappointing to see but I’m sure we can recover.”

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