Does the NHS do enough to support those with dementia and their carers?
According to a recent survey of 1013 GPs, the answer is no. The study, conducted by the Alzheimer’s Society found that fewer than one in ten patients who suffer with dementia feel they get adequate statutory support towards their diet and social life.
61% of GPs are putting the lack of support down to inadequate cooperation between the NHS and social services. A higher percentage of of doctors (71%) have also reported that families, carers and patients are finding the system confusing.
Doctors report that at present too many people affected by dementia are left to muddle through a system they don’t fully understand which is putting huge amounts of pressure on families and carers trying to find a solution. Currently many family members are having to reduce their working hours to provide care themselves.
The survey also found that in areas where there is a lack of support services, doctors are reluctant to make a referral. In some cases, doctors feel they don’t have enough training to effectively manage the a patient through the process.
The survey is indeed unnerving since the number of dementia sufferers is expected to grow to one million by 2021.
So what is the solution?
GPs are calling for the Government to take more responsibility and provide more support for dementia patients by making sure each of them have better access to services, including a Dementia Advisor. They also want them to be given a single point of contact to improve their understanding of the system, so they find it easier to navigate.