GPs to receive £55 for every dementia diagnosis

An incentive scheme has been introduced by the NHS to encourage the diagnosis of dementia sufferers in England, with doctors to receive £55 for each new diagnosis of dementia.

The 6 month scheme is designed to encourage GPs to spot symptoms of the disease in their patients and increase its detection, with NHS England aiming to diagnose two thirds of people with dementia by 2015.

The financial incentive scheme has already been widely criticised however, with the Patients Association labelling it “a step too far“. They state additionally that “Good GPs will be diagnosing their dementia patients already. This seems to be rewarding poor GPs. It is a distortion of good practice”, and believe it is akin to putting a bounty on the heads of certain patients.

George McNamara of the Alzheimer’s Society states that only half of people living with dementia in the UK receive a diagnosis, and that any steps toward improving diagnosis rates are a positive. “However, a focus on enhanced payments is only part of the answer and alone will not suffice”, he says, and states that: “GPs are motivated by caring for their patients, not ticking boxes”.

Lynda Monks from Macks Solicitors, and a Dementia Friend with the Alzheimer’s Society, believes that the scheme is a step backwards, which will deter sufferers from seeking help at the disease’s initial stages.

Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK will be living with a form of dementia by 2015[1].

[1]Alzheimer’s Society – GPs to be given £55 for every diagnosis of dementia

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