Czar backs GP's early dementia diagnosis scheme

A GP Enterprise Award-winning scheme to diagnose dementia earlier - saving one practice £400,000 in a year - has been backed by England's national clinical director for dementia.

Dr Ian Greaves: one of this year's GP Enterprise Awards winners
Dr Ian Greaves: one of this year's GP Enterprise Awards winners

Dr Ian Greaves, of Gnosall Surgery in Staffordshire, is one of five category winners in this year’s GP Enterprise Awards, jointly organised by GP newspaper and the RCGP and sponsored by the Medical Defence Union.

Gnosall Surgery developed a primary care memory service for its 8,000 patients that dramatically reduced hospital costs.

Two questions about memory were added to the checklist used on patients attending QOF clinics. Those with memory concerns were visited at home by a health visitor, to carry out checks for dementia and depression, and to arrange blood and urine tests.

GPs were detecting on average 40% of dementia cases and referring them to secondary care. Now about a third of the patients visited are diagnosed with dementia.

Professor Alistair Burns, England’s clinical director for dementia, said: ‘There are a number of pressing challenges we need to address to improve the quality of care of people with dementia and to support their carers.

‘Early, timely diagnosis is essential as is continuing support so people are able to stay at home for as long as they can, with a range of services tailored to their needs.

‘I have had the privilege of seeing at first hand what the services in Gnosall provide and have spoken to people with dementia and their carers about the support offered. I was extremely impressed at the commitment of the staff, the flexibility of the services provided and the range of support offered close to the community, a view endorsed by the users of the service with whom I spoke.

‘Dr Greaves and his colleagues have pioneered a bespoke model of configuring services which combines innovation with flexibility and person-centred care’.

Editors' blog: Better care costing millions less: why can't all NHS dementia services work like this?

Vote for your favourite category winner: Win an iPod Touch in the GP Enterprise Awards poll

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