Artistic Director, Rachael Savage, attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in Westminster today, where the findings of the recent Inquiry into Barriers to Getting a Dementia Diagnosis were presented and discussed.

The Inquiry was set up by the APPG on Dementia to investigate the barriers people may face in getting a dementia diagnosis, with a particular focus on regional barriers such as rurality and deprivation. As part of this inquiry, the APPG aimed to develop knowledge on regional variation in dementia diagnosis rates, building understanding both of contributing factors and potential solutions to this variation, to gather evidence to understand the impact of regional variation and to identifying tangible actions to reduce regional variation in dementia diagnosis rates.

Rachael attended with Ian Sherriff,  Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia at the University of Plymouth and a member of the Prime Ministers Dementia Champion group.

The Report has found that a range of structural issues could prevent patients seeking or obtaining a diagnosis, including cultural barriers, difficulties in seeing a GP, long waits for memory assessment, lack of post-diagnostic support, insufficient scanners and problems travelling to appointments.

Debbie Abrahams MP, the co-chair of the APPG on dementia, said: “All of the evidence shows that timely diagnosis is crucial for people with dementia, particularly in increasing access to drugs like donanemab, a new potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease…But this report shows that at the moment diagnosis rates are simply a postcode lottery.

Vamos Theatre works extensively with the health and care sectors, and , through performances, workshops and other training. supports people living with dementia and those who care for them.

Rachael comments, “It was a facinating day with people from all walks of life who are passionate about bringing change to the system in England, ensuring quicker diagnosis followed by clear pathways of support. I was truly inspired in particular by  Anita Goundry, who lives with Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, who told her story of waiting seven years for a diagnosis. Anita was asked what changes she'd like to see, and her response was, to tackle stigma, more resources for research, faster diagnosis and some hope. Mainly she wanted hope. This report is hugely important and I am so glad to see that it has been given the attention it needs. A special thank you to Ian Sherriff who so generously invited me to attend and share these experiences with him."

You can read more about the findings of the Report here.