GPs offered £5m to spearhead dementia diagnosis drive

Practices will be offered a share of £5m of additional funding to increase the numbers of patients diagnosed with dementia, the head of the NHS in England is set to announce.

Practices will be given additional funds to identify more dementia cases (Photo: Paul Starr)
Practices will be given additional funds to identify more dementia cases (Photo: Paul Starr)

NHS chief executive Simon Stevens will tell the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool on Friday that GPs should lead efforts to step up the identification of people with the condition, and will offer funds to support practices to do so.

It forms part of NHS England's ongoing push to identify and diagnose two-thirds of patients with dementia by April next year. At the moment, only around 50% of those thought to have the condition have a diagnosis.

The move offers additional funding on top of the QOF indicators and enhanced service that already exist for dementia.

Practices will be offered a slice of £5m for every additional patient they diagnose, and will be expected to use this to work with CCGs to develop clear plans on how to identify more patients, working more closely with nursing and care homes.

CCGs should use this liaison to ensure there is sufficient capacity in local memory clinics. GPs will be encouraged to flag patient delays in accessing the clinics to commissioners.

NHS England will 'also look at other elements of the GP contract, particularly those which are already agreed as changing or stopping in April 2015, to see if we can free GPs from some of the reporting arrangements sooner in order to free up their time'.

It said it would 'continue to consider what further could be done to support practices in caring for all these patients who have been identified'.

Last month, GPs in England were offered a 'dementia toolkit' encouraging them to diagnose more patients with the disease.

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