Diagnosing Dementia – The people who are so wrong

The government’s plan to pay GPs £55 for every dementia diagnosis they make has really provoked a big reaction.

The BBC website even closed down the chance to comment by mid-afternoon on the day the story went live after 1,160 comments.

I’m not going to discuss the ethics around this very small financial incentive which I doubt would unduly influence any right minded GP.

No, what I want to discuss are the people – amongst them leading clinicians in this field – who say they don’t see the point of an early diagnosis because there is no cure and the support services available can’t cope.

Their arrogance and their ignorance make me very, very angry.  How dare they prevent someone with dementia from getting the chance to identify their problem as soon as possible?

There are disease modifying drugs available through clinical trials but they are only effective if the disease is diagnosed early.

But it’s not just about accessing treatment. It’s about being told the truth and having the time and ability to plan for the future before the disease renders you incapable of doing so.

It’s also not just about the individual. It’s about their family, their friends, their employer, their whole life network. Everyone is affected.

This moving interview on Sky News with 51 year old Karen Lewis  coupled with the comments of George McNamara of the Alzheimer’s Society reflect my thoughts on this subject better than I ever could myself.

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