BARNSLEY has seen some of the smallest increases in the number of people diagnosed with dementia over the last five years while other parts of the UK have seen figures more than double, analysis of NHS data shows.

Across the country, diagnosis of dementia has increased by 40 per cent from 2014 to 2019, but in Barnsley that increase was just 14 per cent, making it the 12th lowest of the 185 NHS Trust areas for which data was provided via the Shared Data Unit.

Sheffield was the only trust in South Yorkshire with a lower figure at 13 per cent. In Rotherham it was 30 per cent and Doncaster 32 per cent.

A drive to increase diagnosis rates and an ageing population were behind the increases seen across the country, experts said, and in Barnsley, a lot of work has been done in recent years to ensure those with dementia receive a ‘timely diagnosis’ in order to make sure they receive the best possible care and support.

Jayne Sivakumar, chief nurse for Barnsley CCG, said: “Getting a timely diagnosis for someone living with the symptoms of dementia is really important.

“We know that around seven in ten people over the age of 65 who may have dementia have had a formal diagnosis. That’s around 2,100 people in Barnsley.

“I’ve seen diagnosis rates improve considerably over the past six or seven years.

“The diagnosis rates now in Barnsley are above the national average and the national target set for us by the NHS, which is good as it means more people can get timely support.

“Over the coming year we will be doing more work to diagnose people who may have dementia and provide ongoing support as a result of a brain injury or alcohol related causes.

“It’s important to remember that dementia is not a natural part of growing older and so if things like memory loss start to affect your daily life or it’s worrying you or someone you know, you should seek help from your GP.

“All GP practices have a dementia champion on their team.

“We know that dementia is a very complex condition and the timelier someone gets a diagnosis, the better.

“There has been a fantastic amount of work to make Barnsley into a dementia friendly town, grow all sorts of groups, activities and advice services.”

Care of those with dementia can be very costly and in recent years Barnsley Council has added a specific additional charge on its council tax ring-fenced towards the cost of adult social care. This is expected to continue again this year.

Anyone with savings or income above £23,250 is expected to pay for their own care fees.

People with savings below that figure are entitled to help with the cost of care from the council.

This money goes towards paying for a carer to visit, or for a care home or nursing home.

The current standard amount the NHS will pay towards nursing care is £165.56 per week, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.

Figures provided by the Shared Data Unit.