South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck MP calls for improvements in dementia diagnosis across England

The plight of people with dementia waiting too long for a diagnosis has been championed by a South Tyneside MP

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has called for action to increase the number of people with dementia who receive an accurate and timely diagnosis across England.

Attending a parliamentary event in the House of Commons, she highlighted the importance of prompt diagnosis to enable people with dementia and their carers to receive the support they need.

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The event was organised for the Front of Mind campaign, a joint initiative between healtcare firm Roche UK and tide (together in dementia everyday), a network for carers and former carers of people with dementia.

Emma Lewell-Buck attending the Keeping Dementia Front of Mind Event in Parliament.

It saw MPs discuss findings of a new report, ‘Levelling up dementia diagnosis’, which found that 43% of people with dementia remain undiagnosed.

Ms Lewell-Buck said: “Early diagnosis really matters. It can make the difference between the right and wrong care.

"Whilst many of us, I know my own family have, would drop everything to care for those they love, it is not right that carers allowances are woefully low or for some non-existent.

"When it comes to dementia the care needed is 24/7 there is no respite, carers can become exhausted and isolated, they deserve proper support”.

Emma Lewell-Buck at the Front of Mind event.

During the event, the MP explored the impact of dementia in their constituency through an interactive data mapping dashboard, and spoke to carers and policy influencers from tide.

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MPs also spoke to carers and policy influencers from tide, before photos were taken with a Front of Mind pledge card.

Sam Bolam, chief executive of tide, said: “It’s really encouraging to see MPs come together to discuss the impact of underdiagnosis on people with dementia. Too often, receiving dementia support is a postcode lottery, and we want to ensure everybody affected by dementia can access vital services – regardless of where they live.”

The ‘Levelling up dementia diagnosis’ report by Future Health, which was commissioned and funded by Roche in partnership with York Health Economics Consortium, found diagnosis rates vary markedly across the country from 83% to 47%, while people in rural areas and those from ethnic minorities face particular barriers to accessing services they need.