Dementia diagnosis five times longer in east Lancashire

Betty Ellis was diagnosed with vascular dementia earlier this year
Image caption Betty Ellis (right) was diagnosed with vascular dementia earlier this year

People showing signs of dementia in the North West of England face widely varying waiting times to be diagnosed.

While patients in Sefton are told in five weeks, their counterparts in east Lancashire have to wait up to six months.

A government report published last year shows this is longer than almost anywhere else in England.

Campaigners including the Alzheimer's Society say such waiting times are unacceptable and want a 12-week limit.

There are 19,782 people living with dementia in Lancashire, according to the charity.

Early diagnosis of dementia is important as it allows people to plan for the future and can increase the effectiveness of dementia treatments.

But waiting times for patients to be assessed at memory clinics vary widely in Lancashire - from as little as one week in Lancaster to 18 weeks in east Lancashire.

Image caption Waiting times for diagnosis vary widely in the North West

There is then a further wait for a diagnosis, which ranges from two weeks to three months.

'Why me?'

BBC North West Tonight's Gill Dummigan spoke to Betty Ellis, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia earlier this year.

Mrs Ellis, from Leigh, had to wait six weeks for her results.

"I thought 'why me?' But then you get through that," she said.

Mrs Ellis said the diagnosis was a real turning point.

"I'm coping. I'm better now in many ways than I was before."

The Alzheimer's Society wants all memory clinics to see referrals within four to six weeks and for nobody to wait longer than 12 weeks from referral to diagnosis.

The charity is also campaigning for better support after diagnosis to be provided by dementia advisers who can answer questions and give advice about local services.

BBC North West Tonight is broadcast on BBC One at 18:30 BST and on the iPlayer for 30 days thereafter.

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