Nearly a quarter of GPs have admitted not receiving sufficient training to help them diagnose and manage patients with dementia, according to research by the Alzheimer’s Society.
The survey of more than 1,800 GPs also found that 55% lacked information on local support services for people with dementia and 15% needed to know more about where to refer patients on to.
In addition, 27% said they wanted more information on the management of dementia and 29% more details on drug treatment for the condition.
The results have been used to boost the charity’s Worried about your memory? campaign, launched last year across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in an attempt to increase awareness and improve diagnosis rates. It has been estimated that up to two-thirds of people with dementia never receive a diagnosis.
Around 10,700 GP surgeries received 50 leaflets and a poster with information on dementia. Of the 1,800 GPs surveyed, all of whom had received the campaign materials, one in seven said they had noticed a surge in the number of people asking about memory problems. Fifty per cent of the general public who requested campaign materials also went on to receive a diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s Society chief executive Neil Hunt said that the campaign had made inroads into improved awareness and diagnosis. He added: “However, this must be followed through in the implementation of the national dementia strategy for England. We need to see ongoing improvements in diagnosis and widespread training of healthcare professionals so that people are directed towards the support they need.”