07 July 2015

RCGP Response to Alzheimers Society Report

Responding to today's report by the Alzheimer's Society, Professor Nigel Mathers, Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“This report demonstrates the scale of the challenge that GPs are facing every day in our surgeries in trying to care for the increasing numbers of patients whose lives are affected by this dreadful disease. 
“Diagnosis of dementia can be devastating for patients, their families and their carers – but it can be further exacerbated by the patchy provision of support services in some areas.
“We need better co-ordination of approaches for referral, assessment, and treatment across the boundaries of primary, secondary and social care so that we can improve the services - and access to services -  that will really make a difference to people with dementia and help them live healthy, independent and productive lives for as long as possible.
“Until this can be delivered to all patients, regardless of where they live in the country, GPs will have to continue weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of early diagnosis. Evidence shows that if a person’s wellbeing is not enhanced by receiving a diagnosis, it should not be forced on them.
“We also run the risk of worrying people with ‘false positives’ when age-related memory loss is a sign of getting older and nothing more sinister. 
“The College has prioritised dementia as a clinical priority and has produced a hub of resources, including the Dementia Roadmap, in collaboration with NHS England, which supports healthcare teams and provides advice on what to do at different points during the course of a patient’s experience through dementia.”


Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7581
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 50,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.