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Dementia patients 'being let down'

10 July 2015 09:25

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society (right), with David Cameron

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society (right), with David Cameron

Many people with dementia are being failed, the results of a new survey of family doctors suggest.

Three quarters of those polled say they think their patients do not get the support they need from the health and social care services.

Instead, they say patients have to rely on relatives, friends and neighbours for the support they need.

Many of the UK GPs questioned by the Alzheimer's Society also say they do not believe they have enough training to properly deal with dementia patients themselves.

Cooperation between services 'lacking'

More than three fifths (61%) of the doctors surveyed say they believe patients are not getting the support they need because of a lack of cooperation between the NHS and social care services.

Nearly three quarters (73%), meanwhile, believe the authorities are adding to the confusion for patients and their family, friends and carers.


Having Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia can put a huge strain on sufferers and those who care for them.

But foreign travel can be beneficial to those with the condition and can be covered by taking out a specialist dementia travel insurance policy.

Diagnosis 'being undermined'

The survey suggests that efforts to benefit patients by improving diagnosis rates are being thwarted by the lack of access to services.

One in four (27%) of the GPs surveyed say if support services are not in place they would be less likely to refer those with suspected dementia for diagnosis.

The Alzheimer's Society says the survey's findings suggest that hundreds of thousands of dementia sufferers are being failed.

It is calling on the Government to make sure that every patient gets access to a dementia adviser, and a full range of other support services.

Carers 'need better support'

Carers, it says, should also be entitled to more help and support. Among its suggestions is establishing a single contact point to help carers find their way through the health and social care systems.

The charity's chief executive, Jeremy Hughes, says the survey's results paint a picture of the struggles faced by those with dementia.

He adds that while friends and relatives can provide vital support, they should not be left to cope with everything.