GPs maintain dementia diagnosis levels following pay-per-diagnosis scheme

Prevalence of recorded dementia remained stable among GP patients in England throughout 2015/16, following a significant increase the year before due to a six-month incentive scheme that paid practices per diagnosis.

Some 17,000 GP patients were diagnosed with dementia during the 2015/16 financial year, which ran from April 2015 to March 2016, according to QOF data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

As of 31 March 2016, a total of 427,000 patients were recorded as having dementia on GP records, equivalent to one in every 132 people registered with a GP.

One in every 23 people aged 65 and over are recorded as having dementia, with this rising to one in five women over 90, the group with highest prevalence.

Dementia prevalence

Prevalence of dementia remained fairly constant throughout the year, beginning at 0.760% and dropping to a low of 0.748% before rising again to 0.758% by the end of March.

This follows a large spike in prevalence following the Dementia Identification Scheme enhanced service, which was active for six months from October 2014 to March 2015 and offered practices an additional £55 per dementia diagnosis made.

Since two years ago, at the beginning of 2014/15, to now, recorded prevalence of dementia among GP patients leapt from 0.65% to 0.76% – a 0.12 percentage point difference and 19% increase in prevalence when accounting for total patient list size.

In real numbers, the number diagnosed has increased 29% from 332,000 to 427,000.

Regionally, there is a clear north/south divide, with the lowest prevalence among over 65s in the east (3.77%) and south west (3.80%) of England and highest further north in Cumbria and north east (4.53%) and Lancashire and Greater Manchester (4.56%).

Photo: iStock

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