Recorded dementia cases rise 62% in seven years

The number of people with a recorded diagnosis of dementia has risen 62% in the seven years since QOF first encouraged GPs to hold registers of cases, official figures show.

Recorded dementia diagnoses soared following QOF measures (Photo: Paul Starr)
Recorded dementia diagnoses soared following QOF measures (Photo: Paul Starr)

The data for England, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), show 344,000 patients had a recorded diagnosis of the condition in 2013/14, compared with 213,000 in 2006/7.

Officials said the sharp rise may be mostly due to increasing awareness and diagnosis of the condition and better recording, rather than a large increase in actual prevalence, although the ageing population may also have contributed.

Since 2006, the QOF has required GPs to keep a register of dementia diagnoses among the practice list.

Dementia prevalence is highest in the North and South of England at 0.68% and 0.67% of all patients, compared with just 0.39% in London. Among local areas, Isle of Wight CCG had the highest prevalence at 1.1%, with London's Tower Hamlets CCG at 0.25%.

Kingsley Manning, HSCIC chairman, said: 'We are all aware of the challenges facing our ageing population and these figures will be vital for those planning and monitoring the effectiveness of dementia treatments and services.'

Prime minister David Cameron's Dementia Challenge, launched in 2012, aims to improve diagnosis rates for dementia. NHS England has committed to increase the proportion of people with dementia who receive a formal diagnosis to 67% by 2015.

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