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'Global health time bomb' dementia is subject to a postcode lottery

Published on 07/03/2012

After reports today that diabetes care is restricted by a postcode lottery, a new study shows that dementia patients are also suffering a ‘postcode lottery’ of care.

According to Freedom of Information requests made by GP magazine, the amount of money spent on dementia patients in England varies 21-fold across different health authorities.

Figures show that the amount spent per dementia patient varies from £38 at NHS Nottinghamshire County to £802 at NHS Barnsley. The average for the 54 PCTs that responded to the FOI requests was £160, but 4 in 10 admitted to spending less than £100.

Most GPs prefer to refer patients to specialists who test their memory and other cognition skills. However, the provision of these memory assessment services varies across the country, and GPs say they are reluctant to refer patients they suspect could have declining cognitive functions.

Dr Ian Walton told GP magazine: "GPs are blamed for not picking up dementia. But they haven’t got support from services. It’s why GPs are not inclined to refer."

Experts say that early diagnosis is the key to dementia treatment, and this postcode lottery needs to improve in order to help those with the condition.

The report comes after a leading expert warns that dementia is the ‘next global health time bomb’, and needs to be made a top priority along with cancer and lung disease.

Professor Peter Piot compared dementia to the AIDs epidemic, claiming that one person is diagnosed with it every 7 seconds. The number of sufferers of dementia is expected to double by 2020 worldwide.

To avoid the NHS postcode lottery, compare health insurance quotes online now and be covered by private medical insurance.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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