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GPs to be paid £55 for each dementia diagnosis

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Have you heard that GPs in England are to be rewarded with £55 for every patient they diagnose with dementia?

Apparently the aim of the six month scheme, said to be costing £5million, is to increase the number of sufferers who receive treatment for the condition.

Dementia is estimated to affect up to 90,000 in the UK with many believed to be living undiagnosed. It causes a decline in brain function with a collection of symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication skills, and a reduction in a person’s abilities and skills in carrying out daily activities such as washing, dressing, cooking and caring for self.

The Patients Association have called it “a step too far” believing it would mean a “bounty on the head” of some patients. Yet, fewer than half of the 900,000 people in the UK who are estimated to have dementia have been formally diagnosed. Some would argue, if it increases the diagnosis rates, it can only be a blessing?

NHS England now aims to diagnose two thirds of people with dementia by 2015.

NHS England have said it’s “not just payment for diagnosis” and GP practices would have to form a detailed plan and show improving diagnosis rates.

It may include measures such as improving the way cases are recorded by a practice – so they are counted properly, or visiting care homes to assess very elderly people who have not previously been checked for dementia.

It must be said too, there is an existing £42m scheme in England where GP practices are paid for offering appropriate assessments of people who present with memory problems, or those with conditions which put them at increased risk of the disease.

Moreover, once patients have been diagnosed, there are further incentives worth £31m under the existing scheme, linked to delivering care for dementia patients.

Dr Martin McShane, national director for long term conditions at NHS England, said: “Dementia can be devastating both for individuals and their families.

“We know that more needs to be done across the health service to ensure that people living with dementia are identified so that they can get the tailored care and support they need.

“This additional investment is part of a larger range of measures to support GPs in their work tackling dementia.”

If you’d like to find out more about dementia, follow the link below.

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