NHS England has today announced a 6-month scheme under which GPs will be paid £55 for each patient they diagnose with dementia.
The announcement has fuelled a debate about such an incentivised approach but NHS England is aiming to diagnose two thirds of people with dementia by 2015 and the new scheme will help them to achieve that.
One of the benefits of early diagnosis of dementia is that it allows those affected and their families to make considered preparations for their future care and put plans in place for such a time as they are needed.
Far too often a diagnosis is reached at a time when the dementia has become quite advanced at which point planning care – be it in someone’s own home, or a care home – becomes a distress purchase.
The one thing we know about dementia, an umbrella term used to cover a range of symptoms resulting from diseases of the brain, is that it is degenerative so the sooner plans can be put in place, the better.
Commenting on the scheme, Trevor Brocklebank said, “One would like to think that GPs are actively looking for dementia in their elderly clients and it seems that the scheme is rewarding inadequate GPs. For this reason I am not at all surprised that it has attracted much negative comment.
“However, whatever the rights or wrongs of the scheme itself, if it means more people get a diagnosis that allows medical intervention to be put in place and care to be planned, then the overriding outcome should be positive.”