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Dementia strategy to bring extra training for GPs

GP's will get extra training in early diagnosis and management of dementia as part of the Government's £150 million national strategy to improve treatment of the condition, ministers announced today.

The much-trailed Department of Health strategy will also see ‘memory clinics' staffed by specialists set up across the country.

Extra money will also be spent on identifying the gaps in evidence based research on the causes and treatments, as well as public campaigns to raise awareness and understanding of the disease, which affects 700,000 people in the UK.

41217681Although he welcomed extra investment in GP training and improved services, RCGP chair Professor Steve Field warned that memory clinics would be a poor means of targeting and meeting individual community needs.

‘We are open to discussion because this is a serious problem… but actually we think GPs are doing a jolly good job across the country,' said Professor Field.

‘There does need to be CPD programs to support GPs to get even better but what is most important is investment in secondary care so that we have people to refer to.'

The strategy follows a 2007 survey revealing that just 31% of GPs felt they had received sufficient basic and post-qualification training to diagnose and manage dementia.

The Department of Health said it planned to work with training organisations ‘to reach agreement on the core competencies required in dementia care'. the relevant bodies will then be asked to consider how to adapt curricula requirements to include the agreed ‘core competencies' in pre and post qualification and occupational training.

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Neil Hunt said the strategy was an ‘ambitious national rescue plan to transform the lives of people living with dementia.'

‘This is a momentous opportunity to avert a dementia crisis that could overwhelm the NHS and social care, he added.

‘Only a third of people with dementia get a formal diagnosis, denying them vital support. It is essential the strong leadership from the Department of Health continues so that these plans become a reality.'

Dementia strategy

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