Many patients face “shocking” delays for dementia diagnosis and treatment, according to a report by MPs and peers. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia says GPs are often seen as barriers to a diagnosis. Its report says some people have to wait more than a year for an appointment at a memory clinic. The Department of Health in England says the number of memory services is increasing.
The inquiry was set up to examine big discrepancies in dementia diagnosis rates. Across the UK it is estimated that only 43% of people with the disease have a formal diagnosis. Scotland has the highest rate with 64.5%. In Northern Ireland it is 61.5% and in England it is 41%. The diagnosis rate is lowest in Wales, with 41%.
The report says there is strong evidence to show the benefit of early diagnosis for people with dementia, their families, and also to the taxpayer. This is reflected in official government policy across the UK, and was reinforced recently by Prime Minister David Cameron setting out his national dementia challenge for England. But the inquiry highlights what it calls “barriers” to diagnosis and treatment, after looking at evidence submitted by more than 1,000 carers, GPs and hospital specialists. These include poor public understanding of dementia. More than a third of carers who responded said the person with the condition had waited more than a year to go to their GP.
The report says many came to regard GPs as barriers to diagnosis rather than gatekeepers. It also identifies big variations in access to memory services. Some people reported having to wait more than a year for an appointment at a memory clinic, while for others it was just a few weeks.
Source: BBC NEWS
3rd July 2012