Comment: Is there a post code lottery of care for Dementia patients?

10th July 2019

Written by Assistant Litigation Executive in Fletchers Solicitors Medical Negligence team, Megan Tyrer.

“A post code lottery of care for Dementia patients.”

This was the term used by the Department of Health back in August 2016 when it published government data highlighting those with Dementia were being let down by local services across the country.

Almost three years on and the fight to bridge the disparity in Dementia care continues.

The system of support for people with Dementia remains in need of an urgent overhaul. 

Winners are few and far between and like the real lottery – people continue to hope for a better life! 

Dementia is a long term and degenerative condition and it is only right that those people suffering from this condition should be carefully monitored.

Every person with Dementia should be having an annual check up to review their care needs but, in some geographical areas only a few people are receiving an annual review of their care following diagnosis.

Every person with Dementia should be having an annual check up to review their care needs

Over stretched GPs can no longer cope with the rising number of Dementia patients.

Around 537,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with the disease and not everyone with Dementia has a diagnosis.

This can be due to a number of factors including difficulty diagnosing in the early stages, the slow progression and limited public awareness.

Poor access to NHS services has led to people with Dementia being bed-bound, incontinent and sedated.

They are often forced to wait months for vital secondary care like physiotherapy or mental health services.

People with Dementia end up in hospital more often, stay longer and are much more likely to die there.

People with Dementia end up in hospital more often

Not only are the people with Dementia suffering, but their families are too.

A significant proportion of Dementia care is provided in people’s own homes, either by care workers or their families.

Some often have been given little or no training on how to reduce the impact of the condition.

Many have expressed their fears about feeling ill-equipped to provide the care that is needed.

In May 2019, the BBC panorama programme “Crisis in Care – Part 1: Who Cares?” featured Rachel, a woman in her 30’s who is a full-time carer for her mum who has incredibly challenging Dementia.

Due to council cuts, the only respite care Rachel received was about to come to an end.  

This is just one example of how the system of support for people living with Dementia is unfair. 

With carers often able to earn more money taking a minimum wage job it is easy to see why a system already under strain is on the verge of collapse.  

Due to council cuts, the only respite care Rachel received was about to come to an end.  

More needs to be done to achieve equality for all Dementia patients in terms of prevention, diagnosis, support and end of life care.

The Alzheimer’s Society are standing up for people with dementia who need better care.

Join the fix Dementia care campaign today via their website.

Further Reading…

Apprentice Interview: Megann McKay

1st March 2019

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