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More people than ever before in north east Essex are receiving a dementia diagnosis – thanks to greater levels of partnership working between the area’s health, care, community and voluntary groups.

Latest figures from NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) estimate that 5259 people in the area are living with dementia, and 3447 (66.7%) have been given a formal dementia diagnosis - meeting the national target set by NHS England for dementia diagnosis rates.

This represents a 10% increase over the past two years, when only 56.2% of people received a formal diagnosis in 2018.

The increase has been achieved after focusing on a number of areas including increasing education and awareness across primary care and the community; refining patient pathways and access, supporting care homes and working with the voluntary sector in reducing the stigma of dementia and demonstrating the importance of a diagnosis, as well as highlighting the support services available.

There are a number of symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, being confused or struggling to follow a conversation and there are many different types of dementia such as vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s diseases. While there is no cure, it is still possible to live a long and fulfilling life.

Some forms of dementia can be slowed with medication, and receiving an early diagnosis can help people make the necessary changes to legal, financial or living arrangements and give that person and their family time to understand the condition and make the necessary adjustments for the future.

Dr Firas Hussain, a GP and mental health clinical lead at the CCG, said: "Achieving the target dementia diagnosis rate for north east Essex is a testament to the effort put in by many of my colleagues with whom I have been proud to work in my time here as clinical lead.

“Looking behind the figures, what this achievement represents in effect is a significant increase in the number of people with dementia and their family members having the treatment and support they need.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate all that have been involved, and to encourage the continued progress towards exceeding the NHS target.

“I also urge anyone with any concerns about dementia to speak to their GP.”

Robert Chandler, senior dementia lead for the CCG, said: “Over the last two years, local organisations have come together, recognising the importance for people to obtain a dementia diagnosis and access support in the local community so they can live well with the condition.

"This is reflected in the sustained increase in the dementia diagnosis rate due to the increased awareness, clearer pathways to care and Dementia Action Alliances striving to create dementia friendly communities.

"We are determined to continue to increase the number of people who have received a formal diagnosis and will work hard with our partners to achieve that."

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