A pilot project which aims to increase dementia diagnosis rates in Dorset is now underway.

The scheme is part of the Alzheimer’s Society Early Diagnosis campaign.

The charity says that despite the growing national interest in Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, diagnosis rates remain “shockingly low”, at about 43 percent.

The lack of a diagnosis, or mis-diagnosis, means people are unable to access support, information and potential treatments which can help them to live well.

A spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Society said: “We believe that diagnosis rates will increase at greater speed if targeted awareness raising is carried out at a local level, among both the public and health professionals.

“We will also engage key local stakeholders in the issue of diagnosis, to ensure lasting changes that will make it easier to diagnose dementia earlier.”

Pilot projects will run until March. The charity will run a public awareness raising scheme, using materials from its Worried About Your Memory? campaign, engage with health professionals and key stakeholders, target local media and carry out marketing.

Evaluation of both projects will create a framework for future local awareness raising, and will provide evidence for the development of Alzheimer’s Society’s Early Diagnosis campaign.