NHS England has confirmed that from April 2015 it plans to change the official estimated prevalence of dementia to recognise the research published by Medical Research Council’s CFAS II study in 2013, that shows the spread of disease has slowed in the last 20 years, partly due to better treatment of risk factors and improved levels of education
The change will lower current Government figures on the expected number of patients with dementia in England from approximately 670,000 to less than 620,000 and bring the Department of Health much closer to its target dementia diagnosis rate of 67% in 2015
The MRC CFASII study published data in the Lancet in July 2013 that found that the rates of dementia in the UK had fallen ‘substantially’ over the past two decades. Researchers suggested that the decrease in risk of dementia was down to improvements in primary prevention nationally and better, more effective evidence-based care for chronic conditions like diabetes, which increase vascular risk, through primary care initiatives such as the Quality Outcomes Framework.
Commenting on today’s announcement Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s clinical director for dementia, said:
"Our most important aim is that every person with dementia gets the best treatment and they, their families and carers get the best high quality support following the diagnosis.
We are always looking to refine and improve our methods of estimating the number of people with dementia and to make sure we use the most accurate information available so we can diagnose the people who need the care most."
- To access "A two-decade comparison of prevalence of dementia in individuals aged 65 years and older from three geographical areas of England: results of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study I and II" (PDF format document) by Fiona E Matthews, Antony Arthur, Linda E Barnes, John Bond, Carol Jagger, Louise Robinson, Carol Brayne, on behalf of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Collaboration, please click here.