NHS managers set aside just 10p a day for dementia patientsCharity describes NHS's dementia care as an 'embarrassment'Nottinghamshire Council devotes 38 a year – 10p a day
As little as 10p a day is being set aside by NHS managers to treat each patient with dementia, an investigation has revealed.
Three quarters of health trusts have refused to increase the amount they spend on dementia care despite orders by the Government that it should be made a priority.
This includes one primary care trust, Nottinghamshire County, which has admitted it devotes just 38 a year to every patient with the devastating illness – little more than 10p a day.
Penny-pinching: A charity has described the health service's dementia care as an 'embarrassment'
The investigation also revealed huge differences in the amounts of money PCTs set aside for dementia patients. A total of 22 trusts admitted they will spend less than 100 per patient for this financial year – less than 30p a day.
At the other end of the scale however, NHS Barnsley is devoting 800 per patient for this year – eight times more than the lower-spending trusts.
The figures emerged as a charity described the health service’s dementia care as an ‘embarrassment’ and a ‘recipe for disaster’.
The NHS is meant to prioritise dementia sufferers, putting them on an equal footing with those suffering from cancer and heart problems.
Every PCT has been given extra funding to invest in services to improve diagnosis and treatment.
But Freedom of Information requests issued to 56 trusts by GP magazine have revealed that three quarters have not increased the amount they set aside.
This includes 10 per cent – six trusts – which actually cut their spending last year.
Five PCTs also admitted they still do not have a dedicated memory clinic to diagnose the illness.
There is concern that without these vital services GPs will not be able to diagnose patients properly and refer them for the treatment and care they need. Louise Lakey, policy manager for charity the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘For people with dementia, early diagnosis is the key to unlocking access to support services and potential treatments which can help them lead a fuller life.
Care gap: A recent investigation has revealed the hugely differing amounts PCTs set aside for dementia patients
‘Local memory services play a crucial role in making this happen, so the postcode lottery must improve. Increased investment in memory services would also benefit GPs, giving them somewhere that they can refer people for a formal diagnosis and further information.’
Around 750,000 Britons are thought to have some form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, with 400,000 of them yet to be diagnosed.
Today a leading expert in global diseases, Professor Peter Piot, will tell a conference in London that dementia is ‘one of the largest neglected global health challenges of our generation’.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘In the UK the way we fail to deal with dementia is a recipe for disaster. Just 40 per cent of people have a diagnosis and the Government invests eight times less in dementia research than cancer.
‘Our health system should be a model for other countries rather than an embarrassment.‘
A Department of Health spokesman said last night: ‘It is up to local areas to decide how to fund dementia services but we have made clear that it should be a priority.’
n A quarter of care home patients are not given the choice between a male or female assistant if they need help going to the toilet.
It means a quarter of women with continence problems in the care system may have had to accept help from a man against their will.
The study, by regulator the Care Quality Commission, also found a third of residents are given no help over how their continence problems are dealt with.