GPs in the east of England have been sent a rectified version of the dementia DES contract after Pulse discovered the initial communication was out of date.
The flaws in the contract sent out to GPs in Essex for 2015/16 were unveiled only after a Pulse enquiry and could have put local GPs at risk of missing out on the full payment for the scheme.
The dementia DES has been running for two years already, having first been introduced with the 2013/14 contract, but changed for this financial year to fund opportunistic dementia checks in patients with COPD or at high risk of cardiovascular disease. GP leaders previously said the changes would see GP screening millions more patients for dementia.
Commenting on the error, NHS England’s Midlands and East area team said it has now been rectified and all GP practices affected should have received a correct version of their contract, reflecting all 2015 changes.
A spokesperson said: ‘All GP practices in Essex received the information. It was reported to NHS England via a query and was rectified and re-sent on April 13.’
The DES – titled ‘facilitating timely diagnosis and support for people with dementia’ – was originally imposed in the GP contract of 2013/14 despite high-profile campaigning from leading GP critics to get it dropped because of concerns about over-diagnosis.
A separate, time limited ‘cash for diagnosis’ enhanced service to boost dementia diagnosis rates in line with Coalition Government pledges was run between October 2014 and March 2015, offering a payment of £55 per patient, also attracting GP crititcism for being ‘unethical’.