Hundreds more specialist doctors may be needed if Britain is to catch up with France in the treatment of patients with dementia.

That was the message from a leading French doctor who told ITV News that having more neurologists explained why France diagnoses far more patients at an early stage of the disease. Professor Alexis Brice is director general of the Brain and Spine Institute at Paris' Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, which Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt visited on a fact-finding trip to France.

Further reading: Acute hospitals sign up to dementia call to action

Early diagnosis is crucial in the treatment of Alzheimer's because otherwise drug treatment is ineffective.

In the UK, less than half of patients get diagnosed early. In France, most now do – thanks to a combination of memory tests, brain scans and other biological tests.

Here, Hunt has promised around £90 million to help speed up referrals of dementia patients. He is also launching an initiative with high street stores such as M&S and Argos to make staff more aware of the needs of dementia patients.