One in four primary care memory services are still failing basic requirements two years after the launch of the Government’s flagship national dementia strategy, according to an official NHS report.
A survey by the NHS Information Centre across 119 PCTs found that more than a quarter did not yet have full memory service provision, while fewer than a third were accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
It comes as ministers pledged a further £10m to the programme, which was earmarked £150m for its first two years of operation when it was launched in 2009.
A full memory service provision for the early detection and diagnosis of dementia should include: home-based assessment; counselling; specialised diagnostic equipment; provision of full explanation of diagnosis; provision of information on prognosis and care options; provision of advice and support; pharmacological treatment; and follow-up and review services.
But 26% of the PCTs surveyed lacked some elements of a full memory service, with nine trusts admitting they did not yet have any memory service at all.
The NHS Information Centre’s findings follow a Pulse investigation last year which found that PCTs were trying to implement the national dementia strategy on the cheap by piling pressure on GPs to improve rates of diagnosis without investing in the promised network of memory clinics.
Dr Ian Greaves, a GP in Stafford and former Staffordshire dementia champion, said: ‘There has been some improvement since the last Pulse article and we should celebrate that, though it is disappointing that a quarter of services are still not there. I hope that gap can be filled quickly.’
The additional £10m in funding pledged by the Government this week to ‘kick-start a transformation in the way people with dementia are treated by the NHS’ will be given directly to PCTs and local authorities to boost the rollout of memory services.
Care services minister Paul Burstow said: ‘With access to the right services and support, people with dementia can continue to live well for many years. Memory services have a really important role to play in this.’