More than two thirds of patients with dementia have at least one other long-term condition, according to a report by a cross-party group of MPs.
Many of these patients currently undergo multiple reviews each year because the different conditions they live with are 'treated in isolation', a report by the all party parliamentary group (APPG) on dementia warns.
The report highlights the 'staggering' cost of inadequate care of patients with multiple long-term conditions, citing research showing that mismanaging dementia and diabetes, depression, and urinary tract infections costs the UK around £1bn annually.
An overhaul of QOF targets that currently incentivise separate reviews for each of a range of conditions should incentivise GPs to consolidate these checks into a single annual review, the MPs warn.
'To ensure people have an integrated care plan and their care is properly co-ordinated, every individual living with dementia and comorbidities should have a minimum of one holistic review of their care and support per year,' the report says. 'This should be led by a GP and draw on consultations from health and social care professionals as required. A revision to the Quality Outcomes Framework will ensure such reviews take place.'
The report also calls on the CQC to shift its focus from looking at individual providers to considering how entire care pathways work for patients. It also calls for new advice from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society on how to manage medicationfor people with dementia and comorbidities.
APPG chair Baroness Sally Greengross said: 'This inquiry has brought into sharp focus the sheer scale of the difficulties people with dementia and other long-term conditions face when trying to access joined-up care. Despite welcome policy initiatives aiming to deliver integrated care and support, the system habitually treats isolated conditions, rather than the person as a whole.
'The health and social care system is at crisis point and, unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to treat it. The last government made a considerable effort to give people with dementia the attention they deserve, with increased public awareness, improvements in diagnosis rates and post-diagnosis support. Now, these recommendations from the APPG on dementia are an opportunity for the government to continue what it started.'