The NHS and Essex County Council have been urged to work closer together after a dramatic increase in the number of dementia patents being looked after by A&E doctors – even though many are not physically ill.

Emergency hospital admissions for people with dementia have reached a record high in Essex, according to figures from Public Health England.

People with dementia aged over 65 in Essex, Southend and Thurrock were admitted as an emergency 13,968 times in 2017/18 – the highest number since records began in 2012/13.

In the area run by Essex County Council there were 2,174 dementia patients who had been looked after in A&E for a day or less in 2012/13 but this had increased to 3,156 by 2017/18.

It has led to calls for closer working between the county council, with responsibility for adult social care, and the NHS.

Mike Mackrory, leader of the Lib Dem group at County Hall, said: “This highlights the shortage of suitable accommodation for people with this condition and that puts more pressure on A&E departments.

“That enormous increase over such a short space of time is not something that the NHS can sustain.

“It is something the NHS and the adult social care service in Essex need to work together to make provision for these people.

“Clearly it is far more expensive to look after people in A&E when they shouldn’t really be there.

John Spence, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Essex County Council is firmly committed to working in partnership with our NHS colleagues. We continue to develop integrated models where the aim is to allow people to live at home independently and for longer.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are committed to the integration of health, social care and public services, which must work seamlessly together to deliver better quality care."

In Essex, 4.1 per cent of over 65s were recorded as having dementia in December 2018, up from 3.9 per cent  in September 2017.