Almost half of all dementia cases in Fylde and Wyre go undiagnosed

An estimated 49 per cent of people living with dementia in Fylde and Wyre have not received a diagnosis for the condition, according to new health research.

By Wes Holmes
Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 12:30 pm

Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees healthcare in the two boroughs, is among three CCGs identified as facing the most serious challenges in the country when it comes to dementia, with high levels of both prevalence and under-diagnosis.

Figures collected by healthcare policy research consultancy Future Health showed that 430,857 people were diagnosed with dementia in England in 2021/22 – 0.71 per cent of the overall number of registered patients.

Fylde and Wyre CCG had the second highest rates of reported dementia in the country at 1.13 per cent, falling just behind NHS Southport and Formby CCG at 1.15 per cent.

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Dementia diagnosis rates fell in February 2020 at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic

However the true number of people suffering from the condition, which is characterized primarily by memory loss, is estimated to be almost double this, as just 51 per cent of cases are diagnosed.

Meanwhile, in Blackpool, 80 per cent of cases result in a successful diagnosis.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership said this was due to Fylde and Wyre’s ‘significantly older population compared to the national average’, and a fall in diagnosis rates following the outbreak of Covid-19.

Fylde and Wyre CCG ranks among the highest for patients with undiagnosed dementia

The pandemic has seen a reduction in the number of patients receiving a diagnosis, with the numbers falling below The Government’s official target of 60 per cent in February 2020 and remaining well below ever since. It is predicted more than 325,800 people with varying levels of dementia are living undiagnosed in England today.

Past studies found that ‘a substantial number of people with the symptoms of dementia are undiagnosed’, as official numbers fall well below what would be expected based on prevalence and population size.

Future Health founder Richard Sloggett, a former special advisor in the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “The pandemic has set back the progress made on dementia diagnosis rates and urgent action is now needed to support recovery. The forthcoming dementia strategy must tackle regional disparities, particularly in how patient access to a diagnosis in rural areas can be improved.”

Alzheimer’s Society director of research Fiona Carragher said: “We at the Alzheimer’s Society welcome this report and its findings, as it evidences the need to address regional and health disparities to improve the experience of diagnosis in a fair way. As we move beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, we must now urgently work together to improve diagnosis, ongoing care and outcomes for people living with dementia.”

The impact of the pandemic on dementia diagnosis

"Diagnosis rates are now improving”

A spokesman for the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership said: “Yes there is a higher rate of dementia in Fylde and Wyre, as we have a significantly older population compared to the national average. The diagnosis rate did fall in response to Covid as people were less likely to access diagnostic services. Diagnosis rates are now improving, and it remains an area of focus for the Fylde Coast to bring these rates back up to the nationally expected rate. From April 2021 to March 22 we demonstrated an improved position, achieving an overall rate of 63.4 per cent, and work is continuing to improve these further.”