The announcement that family doctors in England will be paid £55 for each patient they diagnose with dementia has been condemned by The Patients Association as ”a step too far”.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:
‘For no other disease would we tolerate only half the people getting a diagnosis. It is shocking that the Patients Association seems to be acting against the interests of some of our most vulnerable people. There is a long tradition of supporting GP practices to tackle neglected areas. People worried about their memory and their carers deserve that support.’
Care England, the largest representative body for care providers, has responded to the news that the Department of Health will be giving extra funding to GPs to diagnose dementia.
Professor Martin Green, Care England’s chief executive said:
“Whilst we welcome any increase in the diagnosis of dementia, we must remind the government that the greatest issue is the underfunding of social care”.
Professor Green continued:
“The care sector is constantly being challenged to improve quality but the government refuses to put more money into delivering care. In many areas local authorities are paying less than £5 an hour for high-level, quality care and we are constantly told there is no more money in the system. However, the government has found money to fund GPs to make a diagnosis and ignored funding care providers properly to deliver the vital support that is necessary after that diagnosis is delivered.”
Doctors should diagnose an illness in order to benefit their patient, not themselves – says expert
Timothy James, Senior Lecturer in Medical Law and Ethics at Birmingham City University said: “It raises a question: why are GPs not diagnosing dementia, and why do they need an incentive to do so? The ethical point is surely that doctors should diagnose illness in order to benefit their patients, not themselves.”
“So the follow-up question must be: do the government think that GPs are unable to diagnose dementia through inadequate diagnostic skills, or unwilling to diagnose it because it will cost them something – money out of their budgets, or an increased workload? If it’s the former, training should be the answer; if the latter, ethics come in” added Timothy.
Timothy draws two conclusions from this announcement:
- “There are indeed question marks over the diagnostic skills of GPs, but the medical authorities will never admit this.
- We should now expect increases in diagnoses of dementia – experience shows these financial incentives are very effective in changing GPs’ practice.”