Paula meets with the Alzheimer's Society

Parliament has been dissolved until after the general election and I am no longer an MP.

Paula meets with the Alzheimer
04 Oct 2022

Paula learns barriers to dementia diagnosis at the Labour Party Conference

I was given a unique insight into the barriers to diagnosis that people living with dementia face at the recent Labour Party Conference. As part of Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign to ensure everyone living with dementia receives a timely, accurate and helpful diagnosis, MPs at the event took part in a challenging ‘racetrack game’ created by the charity to highlight the problems many with the condition encounter getting a diagnosis.
 Alzheimer’s Society’s diagnosis racetrack gave MPs a chance to compete against one another to ‘navigate their way to a dementia diagnosis’ using a remote-control car, avoiding barriers including an incorrect diagnosis, unclear pathways, and postcode lotteries. These affect people in Liverpool, where only 61.6% of people living with dementia have a diagnosis.
 With diagnosis rates currently at a five-year low after the pandemic, the charity believes there are tens of thousands of people now living with undiagnosed dementia. This means they don’t have access to the vital care and support that a diagnosis can bring. There are currently around 4,970 people living with dementia in Liverpool, with a total of 900,000 across the UK, which is set to rise to 1.6m by 2040.
 Recent research from Alzheimer’s Society shows some people don’t seek a dementia diagnosis because they think memory loss is just part of getting old, fail to recognise the signs of dementia, or are in denial about their symptoms, while they may also face delays once they have tried to find help. Though the thought of diagnosis can be daunting, over 9 in 10 people with dementia say they benefitted from getting a diagnosis, for example by helping them come to terms with it or plan for the future.

I pledged to support Alzheimer’s Society in their drive to make sure everyone with dementia gets the diagnosis they need. One in four people have battled dementia symptoms for over two years before getting a diagnosis. If you are worried that you or a loved one may have dementia, should contact Alzheimer’s Society for advice and support.” 

James White, Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We thank Paula Barker MP for engaging with us at the Labour Party annual conference, and showing her support. Asking the same question over and over again is not called getting old, it’s called getting ill. We know getting a dementia diagnosis can be daunting, but we want everyone to be able to understand and recognise potential dementia symptoms, feel empowered to take the next steps, and come to Alzheimer’s Society for support.

 National diagnosis rates are currently at a five-year low, meaning it’s vital that we do everything we can to get people diagnosed so they can get treatment and support. We have launched resources to arm people with all the information they need when speaking with their GP. These include online support and advice and a new symptoms checklist which can be printed and taken to the doctor to help both patients and clinicians have an easier diagnosis experience.”

Support and more information about a diagnosis is just a phone call or a click away. Visit alzheimers.org.uk/memoryloss or call Alzheimer’s Society on 0333 150 3456 [0330 094 7400 Welsh-speaking number] For callers who do not have English as their language of choice, Alzheimer’s Society can arrange a simultaneous language translation service.



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