Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

GPs call for greater dementia support services

According to a Royal College of GPs survey, around 1,000 GP’s have wide-raging concerns about levels of social care provided to Dementia sufferers. The concern extends so far that GP’s are delaying diagnosis in patients they know to have Dementia to avoid them from falling into the gap.

Over the last12 months the government have been keen to raise awareness of the symptoms and effects of Dementia. Historically, it has taken a long time for patients, their families and even their doctor’s to acknowledge that someone may be at risk. The government has provided specialist dementia training to 600,000 NHS and social care staff to assist with diagnosis. The positive news is that more and more patients are now receiving the appropriate diagnosis, but unfortunately the care and support services are no longer able to keep up with demand.

One carer of a Dementia sufferer has said “ since mum was diagnosed with dementia, it has been a constant, all-consuming battle to get her the support she needs … after two care assessment which led to nothing, I’ve been left with no option but to drastically cut down my hours at work so I can take care of her”.

A Department of Heath spokesperson said “We are already expanding access to named clinicians and dementia advisers …. and giving the option of personal budgets – and we want to see these things being offered across the NHS”.

GP’s are clearly acting in what they feel to be their patient’s best interest by waiting until appropriate social provision is available to care for patients after diagnosis. However, it is concerning that the NHS has to cover up a diagnosis in order to ease the burden on social services. That cannot possibly be in any patient’s best interest.

If you are worried that someone you know may have dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association has produced a list of 10 warnings of Alzheimer’s and other dementia:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life;
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems;
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure;
  4. Confusion with time or place;
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships;
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing;
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps;
  8. Decreased or poor judgment;
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities;
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

If you suspect a loved one may suffer from dementia, speak to their GP immediately.

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