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Scotland's National Dementia Strategy: One Year On Report

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5. Continued work on Diagnosis

5.1 The Dementia Strategy recognises that diagnosis is important as it is a gateway to effective care and support. The person who has been diagnosed with dementia, and their family, now know the cause of the changes that have worried them. They have a chance to get back in control of their lives by understanding their condition, what the future might hold and make plans accordingly. They may be able to start drug or psychological treatments or take part in research projects, none of which they would be able to do without a dementia diagnosis.

5.2 Since 2007 the NHS in Scotland has worked to increase the number of people who have a diagnosis of dementia. Our aim was to increase the number of people registered in primary care with a diagnosis of dementia from 29,603 in March 2007 to 39,578 in March 2011. The data is only published annually and therefore the following chart shows data up to March 2010. The position for March 2011 will be published in September 2011 and we anticipate that, at a Scotland wide level, this target will be met and exceeded. Individual Health Board positions will also be available when the data is published in September 2011.

Bar Chart - Number of Patients on the Dementia Register Scotland

5.3 As well as actions to deliver increases in the number of people diagnosed, there have also been significant improvements in the early management and support provided post diagnosis. Different areas have prioritised different initiatives but some of the key pieces of work have included:

  • delivering training to GPs, general hospital staff and care home staff on how to recognise the symptoms of dementia and how to provide dementia friendly care.