DEMENTIA sufferers and their families in Sunderland will benefit from a £2million boost to services.
NHS South of Tyne and Wear is launching a memory protection service to help those suffering the devastating effects of the illness.
There are about 1,700 new cases of dementia in the NHS South of Tyne and Wear area, which covers Sunderland – a figure set to rise by up to 40 per cent over the next 15 years.
The service has been launched to provide access to information, support, early diagnosis, treatment and care for people with dementia, their families and carers.
It is hoped that the investment will help sufferers to live longer and help those caring for them.
Sandra Falkner, whose husband Billy, 64, developed Alzheimer’s almost a decade ago, welcomed the news.
Mrs Falkner, 64, of Barnes, said: “It’s definitely a good thing.
“Obviously, this is too late for my husband, but the earlier the diagnosis, the better.
“There was nothing like this when my husband was diagnosed.”
Wendy Kaiser, strategic lead for mental health at NHS South of Tyne and Wear, said: “The memory protection service brings together health professionals involved in all aspects of dementia care to ensure the journey for patients, their carers and families is as smooth as possible.”
“The memory protection service aims to improve early diagnosis of dementia which can lead to better quality of life and prolonged independence.
“It will also focus on improving access to dementia care and treatment and will help to engage dementia sufferers and their carers with the appropriate services.
“It will help to provide information, advice and support, signposting to other services, diagnosis and treatment and will also be available to all carers of people who may have dementia.”
Ken Wild, directorate manager of community services in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Taking early action in the safeguarding of memory function offers the best opportunity for individuals to maximise their future independence and choice and represents a more positive, modern and pro-active approach to an increasingly recognised need.”
Dr Ian Pattison, chairman of Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Dementia is a condition for which there is no cure. However, treatment and support can slow the onset of the condition, meaning people are able to keep their loved ones for longer and help them maintain their independence.
“If you are worried about a family member or friend, discuss your concerns with them and encourage them to visit their GP.”