Updated: Friday, 15th February 2019 @ 12:37pm

The waiting game: Dementia diagnosis varies wildly across Greater Manchester depending where you live

The waiting game: Dementia diagnosis varies wildly across Greater Manchester depending where you live

By Amy Lofthouse

The speed with which Manchester patients receive a dementia diagnosis can vary by as much as 12 weeks depending on where they live, a government report has revealed.

Sufferers in Greater Manchester West, for example, wait on average up to four weeks after the initial visit by the memory team to receive a diagnosis.

Rochdale meanwhile has the worst result rates in the area, with it taking up to 16 weeks for patients to receive a result after the initial diagnosis.

Stan Boaler, mental health service director for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said that the Trust was committed to continually improving the care they provide to people with dementia.

“We are working hard to reduce the time people wait for their diagnosis and have already significantly increased the size and capabilities of the team,” he said.

“We are also working with local GPs to enhance their skills and knowledge of diagnosing and treating people with dementia.

“The service is able to see people with urgent needs more quickly and can arrange support prior to diagnosis, if appropriate.”

Rochdale’s waiting time is among some of the highest in the country – the worst is the Basildon Memory Service in South Essex, where it can take up to 21 weeks for a result.

Sue Clarke, operations manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in Greater Manchester, said that the results of the report showed just how much work was needed across the region to diagnose and support those with dementia.

“The fact that people are left struggling with uncertainty and no support for months is simply unacceptable,” she said.

“Memory clinics need more funding if we’re to stop this endless wait for people with dementia.”

While waiting times for diagnoses were criticised in the report a South Manchester service has been praised for its role in the recognition and diagnosis of dementia.

The South Manchester Memory Service was recognised for facilitating the early referral and diagnosis of patients with dementia who otherwise would not have been seen.

The report also mentioned that the service had been well received by patients and carers and congratulated the group on making it easy for referrals to be directed to the correct specialist.

With around 555,000 carers of people with dementia in the UK, an early diagnosis is crucial as it allows both patients and carers to get the appropriate care into place as quickly as possible.

There are around 670,000 people in England living with dementia, with the figure expected to double in the next 30 years.

Image courtesy of Borya, with thanks

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