GP Claims New Dementia Diagnosis Targets Will Lead To Over-Diagnosis

New targets for diagnosing dementia will lead to more harm than good, according to an article written by Dr. Martin Brunet, a GP, in the BMJ today, He argues that the government is putting pressure on commissioners, and in turn general practitioners, to make more diagnoses of dementia, but no analysis has been done to assess the harm that these targets could cause.

Alzheimer’s Society comment:

‘It is disappointing to hear that there are still some clinicians questioning the benefits of diagnosing dementia. It is not a case of ticking boxes – people with dementia have a right to know. Without a diagnosis they are left in the dark without access to treatments, support and information.

‘GPs are equipped with the training and tools they need to understand those most at risk of developing dementia. They have the ability to confidently identify and access existing people in their area who are living with dementia and refer them for diagnosis. It is wrong to imply that any GP would undermine the trust-based patient doctor relationship in order to meet targets.

‘More than half of people with dementia in England (52 per cent) do not have a diagnosis – only by improving diagnosis rates can we ensure more people are able to live well with the condition and plan for the future.

George McNamara
Head of Policy & Public Affairs
Alzheimer’s Society