Dementia diagnosis

20,000 people estimated to be diagnosed every year by 2020.

The most accurate assessment of the number of dementia diagnoses in Scotland has found that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020.

A report published today has 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 be used to further the government’s understanding and help in the planning, provision and re-designing of dementia services.

Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer Catherine Calderwood 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 our new dementia strategy in the new year and the Chief Medical Officer added:

“Our new strategy will continue the national focus we have on supporting better diagnosis rates, embedding post-diagnostic and integrated home-based services, and developing better palliative and end of life services for people with dementia and their families and carers.”

Jim Pearson, Director of Policy and Research, Alzheimer Scotland, commented:

“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 (figures) 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.”


NHS National Services Scotland’s Information Services Division (NSS ISD) carried out the report in behalf of the Scottish Government – it can be accessed here:

Previously, dementia policy in Scotland has drawn on commonly-held assumptions around dementia prevalence, which in Scotland is estimated at up to 90,000.

Prevalence refers to a snapshot of the estimated number of cases of dementia in a population at a given point in time.

Incidence refers to the estimated number of new cases of dementia developed over a given time period.


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