“Dramatic” variation in dementia diagnosis across the UK has been blamed on poor access to resources by the Royal College of GPs (RCGP).
Following the Alzheimer’s Society dementia diagnosis report, RCGP chair Clare Gerada said patients would have equal access to healthcare in an “ideal world”.
Dr Gerada said: “GPs currently face a number of obstacles that inhibit them from making this a reality for patients with dementia.”
“GPs need to have access to a wide range of services and resources such as memory clinics so that they can properly support people beyond diagnosis.”
In January Alzheimer’s Society produced an interactive map that highlights the number of people diagnosed with dementia in primary care trusts across the UK.
According to the report, diagnosis rates for dementia range from 31% in East Riding of Yorkshire, to 75% in Belfast.
Two thirds of primary care trusts (PCTs) responded to the survey of memory clinics, which showed the average waiting time for an appointment is 32.5 days.
There are thought to be 428,000 people living with undiagnosed dementia in the UK.
Health Secretary’s dementia pledge
“I want local areas to set ambitious targets for improved dementia diagnosis,” Jeremy Hunt said.
The Health Secretary’s commitment to making this a year of dementia awareness was welcomed by Dr Gerada.
She said: “We hope this is channelled into sustaining and increasing services, such as memory clinics.
“We hope that his concern is backed up with support for GPs to deliver the resources necessary to improve timely diagnosis.”
The RCGP has announced plans to develop a “navigational aid” for dementia, to assist primary care in managing the condition.
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