MILLIONS of pounds are being spent on treating Scots with dementia with the number of drugs given out to treat the condition rising sharply in the last year, new figures showed.
A total of 215,358 prescription medicines were dispensed last year - a rise of 32,000 on the numbers given out in 2012-13, it emerged today.
The levels of drugs dispensed suggest that medics are prescribing a pill to deal with conditions such as Alzheimer’s 24 times an hour in Scotland.
Scotland’s NHS spent £8.3 million in 2013-14 on drugs to manage the rapidly increasing condition, official figures showed.
However, the cost of prescribing the drug appears to be getting cheaper, with £10.2m spent on medicines for dementia patients in 2012-13 and £15m in 2011-12.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw claimed the Scottish government had been too slow to respond to the nation’s “dementia timebomb”.
Mr Carlaw said: “This is evidence on the ground of how the curse of dementia is becoming an increasing problem.
“It is one of the 21st century’s major health challenges, and with Scotland likely to have a population that ages at a greater rate than the rest of the UK, we need to be ready.
“The Scottish Government has been warned for some time that this is very much a health and social care timebomb.
“The time to act was several years ago, and frankly not only the Scottish Government but all of us have been too slow to respond.
“We need the NHS and local authorities properly equipped now to ensure those suffering from this terrible illness, and their families, can be looked after as well as possible.”