Group slams dementia bonus for GPs

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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The Patients Association has condemned plans to pay GPs a £55 bonus to diagnose dementia as “a step too far”.

Reports said family doctors would receive the cash under an NHS scheme in what is understood to be the first national initiative to reward doctors for diagnosing patients with a condition.

Under the scheme, doctors are said to be able to receive the money for every extra patient given a diagnosis of dementia over a six-month period.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was “a distortion of good medical practice”.

She said: “We know GPs receive incentive payments to find all sorts of conditions, such as high cholesterol, raised blood pressure and diabetes – but this seems a step too far. It is putting a bounty on the head of certain patients.

“Good GPs will be diagnosing their dementia patients already. This seems to be rewarding poor GPs.

“There is an issue of people presenting late with dementia to doctors, but this is not the right way to go about tackling that. If people were given hope that something could be done, that would be the greatest incentive for coming early.”

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: “Dementia can be devastating both for individuals and their families. We know that more needs to be done across the health service to ensure that people living with dementia are identified so that they can get the tailored care and support they need. This additional investment is part of a drive to ensure this.”

Health experts believe that j ust under half of the estimated people living with dementia are not being diagnosed, with variations across the country.

NHS England has already committed to ensuring two thirds of the estimated number of people with dementia are identified and receive high-quality post diagnostic support by 2015.

GPs are seen as critical to this and the NHS says it needs to ensure they have the resource and support to get the job done, and hopes the extra investment will help to do that.

The new enhanced service will see an additional £5 million being made available to boost existing work to identify people with dementia so tailored support can be put in place.

Published: Wednesday 22nd October 2014 by The News Editor

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