THE NUMBER of people living with dementia in Scotland has doubled in a decade, according to official figures.

Statistics produced by the Scottish Government show that in the last year more than 28,000 people were being prescribed drugs for the condition, while in 2008/09, just 14,000 were.

The number of prescriptions handed out for the medicines has also doubled, with more than 270,000 issued in the last year compared to around 136,000 ten years ago.

The figures, published by National Services Scotland Information Services Division, have raised concerns that the country will continue to see a rise in dementia sufferers.

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells said the revelations showed more had to be done to ensure those vulnerable patients were receiving sufficient care.

Her party said the country was facing a "dementia crisis" and criticised the SNP over "failure to prepare for Scotland's ageing population".

It has also been claimed some councils are unable to afford Frank's Law – legislation intended to help younger dementia sufferers, which was brought in this year following a six-year campaign by former footballer Frank Kopel's wife Amanda.

She fought for the changes after she was forced into financial difficulty while trying to care for the former Dundee United player, as he was not entitled to the same level of care as those over the age of 65.

Just three months after the law was introduced, South Ayrshire Council – run by the SNP, Labour and independent councillors together – decided to rescind the funds put aside for the scheme, prompting outrage from Kopel.

According to the figures, two-thirds of dementia sufferers in Scotland are over the age of 80, with the largest group (7,564 people) aged between 80 and 84. Fewer than 1,000 people under the age of 64 are currently taking medication for the condition.

Wells said: "The fact the number of dementia cases have doubled within the space of a decade shows the scale of the challenge facing the NHS.

“These are vulnerable people who need and deserve the highest standard of care. But the SNP’s negligence of the NHS means wards are short-staffed and the health service is completely ill-equipped to deal with these increasing cases.

“Ministers have been warned for years about the impact of an ageing population and have refused to listen. If the Nationalists don’t act now, the well-being of thousands upon thousands of dementia patients will be at risk.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Scotland continues to be the only country in the UK which provides free personal care to adults. This has been in place for over-65s since 2002 and was extended in April this year to those under 65. Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure that personal care is no longer charged to the individual.

“Dementia care is a priority – we have published three national dementia strategies and a fourth will be developed next year. These are aimed at supporting good quality care for all stages of the illness.

“The Scottish Government’s estimated annual spend on dementia care for 2018-19 is £370 million for healthcare and £1.1 billion for social care. In 2014, the figures were £340m for healthcare and £730m for social care. The increase is mainly down to more people having dementia. Clearly, prescribing numbers also rise with increasing prevalence and with more and better diagnosis and assessment.

“Through integration of health and social care, significant work and investment has gone into supporting older people, including those with dementia, to live well in their own home or in a homely setting.

“We have a national approach to training and developing the dementia workforce across health, social services and housing, including the national Dementia Champions programme in acute care. We also co-fund dementia nurse consultants across health boards."