The most comprehensive report yet into dementia care in the North East has been published by the Northern Rock Foundation, with help from Newcastle University academics.
The report Dementia 2014: a North East Perspective coincides with the end of a five year National Dementia Strategy and comes as Prime Minister David Cameron urged an increase in international funding for research and treatment into the condition.
This in-depth study, which has been produced with the assistance of the North East Dementia Alliance, looks set to provide a blueprint to inform regional as well as national policy in the provision of care and services for people with dementia.
It reveals that there are 34,000 people in the North East with some form of dementia – a figure that is anticipated to rise by 50 per cent to 51,000 by 2030 - and that the prevalence of dementia in the region is higher than the national rate of 569 people per 100,000.
While the report's authors, Debbie J Smith and Peter Otter, found the North East scored above the national average in diagnosing the condition, they recommended more be done to engage and empower people with dementia and raise public awareness of the condition.
World-class dementia research
Dr Lynne Corner, Chair of the NE Dementia Alliance based at the Newcastle University Institute for Ageing said: "We very much welcome this report – we have world class dementia research in the region and it is important that this benefits those who need it. The report also illustrates how complex health and social care can be for people to navigate and so it is critical that we have a joined-up approach to commissioning and providing the best possible services and support for people with dementia and their families to have the best possible quality of life."
Among the report's other findings was the need for further work to support people with dementia to live in their own homes and for research currently being undertaken in the region to be translated into practice by dementia groups and clinicians.
The report is the second of its kind commissioned by the Northern Rock Foundation and has been hailed by experts in the field as a definitive study, which should form the basis of future governmental and industry policy.
Penny Wilkinson, chief executive at Northern Rock Foundation, said: "Over the years the Foundation has played a vital role in funding in-depth research on a variety of issues and this has been crucial in ensuring that the right decisions are made for the right reasons by the right people.
"Dementia is not only a health issue, it is a social one and that's why the Dementia 2014: A North East Perspective report and the Government's pledge to secure investment for research are not just timely, they are vital."
The report is available online: www.ncl.ac.uk/press.office/press.release/item/www.nr-foundation.org.uk.