DOCTORS can do more to help rising numbers of people living with dementia get help in their community.

That was the message from carers and the families of people with dementia following the release of a new report from Oxfordshire’s public health watchdog today.

The report calls for GP practices to have a member of staff working with support groups to help patients, carers and families get the care they need and for a formal referral system to be set up between surgeries and support groups.

Liz Stevens, whose 83-year-old dad Richard Bevis was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, is part of Clanfield Cares, a monthly support group for families affected by the disease.

Mrs Stevens, who has lived in Clanfield for 29 years, said that she decided to get community training after seeing how difficult it was for her mother to look after him.

She said: “I am not his day-to-day carer but I can see the difficulties my mother has as an elderly person who is forgetting things, or getting muddled. It is a strain on her.

“The disease touches a lot of people in all communities.”

The report, compiled Oxfordshire Rural Community Council, and funded by Healthwatch Oxfordshire also calls for:

* More cash for support groups to have more training and recruitment of more members;

* A designated staff member to be appointed at each GP to liaise with community groups to help people access the right support;

* A referral process between GP surgeries and support groups;

* More talks between Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and GPs to help more people living with the disease stay in their own home.

The report said three of the 58 community and workplace groups polled said they had been rebuffed by gatekeepers at GP surgeries trying to pass on information.

However, Mrs Stevens said her group, Clanfield Cares, is trying to work with GPs to let them know what other support is available.

The 54-year-old added; “When a person is diagnosed, often they just don’t know where to go.

“If the GP can put them in touch with groups and charities, it will be really useful.

“Some GPs are aware of the areas of support but it’s getting the right support to suit the person with dementia, whether it’s informal or more structured.

“Familiarity is so important, that is the one thing, they can get muddled when they go on holiday or away, so to stay in their community where other people know them is important. It’s also important for their spouses or carers .”

The number of people in the county living with dementia, is expected to rise by 20 per cent in the next six years.