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I genuinely can’t be bothered to list everything that's wrong with the new dementia DES

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This new dementia enhanced service gives us a real opportunity. Not an opportunity to earn £55 x however many dementia diagnoses we can cram in between three weeks ago and the end of March next year. No. Something else entirely.

I genuinely can’t be bothered to list all the things that are wrong with this proposed new service. It’s all too depressing and you could come up with your own, I’m sure.

But if I did, they would include: the highly dubious ethics of the whole thing, the fact that it’s clearly politically/target driven, the reality that it currently takes six months plus from referral to reach a diagnosis, the glaring duplication of pay given there’s already a virtually identical DES, the way this will inevitably play out in the media and, last and very much least, the hilarious reality that, if the idea really is to reward GPs for a proactive approach to this disease, the suits should realise that the  £55 on offer barely covers the time it took me to read the DES spec.

All of which is beside the point. We all know that, if money should be poured anywhere near dementia, then it should go into providing adequate memory clinic services and prompt and appropriate social support for patients and carers.

So there’s the opportunity. Why don’t we, en masse, boycott the whole thing and insist the politicians divert the money to where it’s really needed? In fact, why doesn’t the GPC man up and score a massive PR win by encouraging us to treat it with with the contempt it deserves? We dodge a media bullet, emerge with our ethics intact, and the Government’s bluff is called.

And for those who disagree, there’s a six-item cognitive impairment test with your name on it, though hopefully not in a GP’s surgery near you.

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. You can follow him on Twitter @DocCopperfield 

 

Readers' comments (16)

  • Completely agree.

    Unfortunately we will always have greedy colleagues who will sell their soul for a bit of cash. Expect to see some big outfits with lots of ANPs "triaging" for dementia and these practices getting praised by the politicians for their "proactive work"

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  • well put - as always - so sad to see a lot us abandon
    any ethical reasoning when a new initiative has any cash payment attached to it.....this is insane...the only people we need to screen for dementia are each other if we agree to such BS...

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  • agree tony.
    must be hard now to satirise the delusional utter manure now being constantly excreted by our profoundly incompetent and surreal administrators.

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  • I agree. We should all boycott it.

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  • This is the most disgusting and ridiculous wheeze ever dreamt up by the idiots who are supposed to run the NHS. When patients cannot get decently quick appointments with their GP or referral to hospital clinics due to the swinging (actual) reductions in the money available, to imagine this needed geniuses!

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  • Ricardo Gaudoin

    Just like a cowboy film. Round 'em' up and put your brand on 'em' and collect your £55 per head. Where are these policy makers coming from? New film: (Bounty hunters and rustlers galore)

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  • The current DES has already overburdened our memory services. The distinction between cognitive impairment and dementia is largely academic and the diagnosis of cognitive impairment gives no future predictive value. A study of 126 cognitively intact adults mean age 83.7 years at death found that 43% had pathology of pre clinical Alzheimers disease.
    'Selling' dementia as a single entity is clearly benefiting some people. What our frail elderly patients need is better social care, housing, nursing homes, compassion and understanding. We can at least advocate for that for all - whatever the degree that their 'brain failure' is contributing to their needs.

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  • This is a really ill thought out scheme.The person who suggested it should acknowledge the error of his ways, then he may retain some degree of respect

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  • Russell Thorpe

    At our CCG Council of Members meting 2 days ago I was a lone voice when I raised concerns of over diagnosis. The coments directed back at me suggested that I didnt care about dementia pts when the exact reverse is the case and led me to speak up. I fully agree with TC lets have a DES to identify carers and get them some more support. Our CCG have invested in a tool called Cantab Mobile that in my view over diagnoses the condition (half the GP,s at the demo struggled to pass the test)

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  • Spot on

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From: Copperfield

Dr Tony Copperfield is a jobbing GP in Essex with more than a few chips on his shoulder