Dementia patients face long wait for diagnosis

People with dementia continue to face long waits for diagnosis and support

An investigation conducted by GP magazine has found that many people with dementia in England are still waiting too long to receive a formal diagnosis and access dementia services once diagnosed. Figures from 145 CCGs, highlight that there are still huge disparities in services delivered to people with dementia across the country.
10 out of 97 CCGs reported patients were waiting longer than 12 weeks. Over a third of CCGs, 37 in total, had patients waiting longer than six weeks, the maximum waiting time recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
GP magazine obtained figures under Freedom of Information rules. Other findings showed that across 52 CCGs providing figures, the number of patients using memory services rose by 23%, from 40,394 to 49,880, in a single year, reflecting a growing awareness of dementia.
Only one in five memory service providers have sought RCPsych accreditation to show they meet national standards, with some refusing to do so because of costs.
Alzheimer’s Society comment:
‘We have known for a while that many people are forced to wait too long to receive treatment and support when diagnosed with dementia. It’s shocking and unacceptable that a year on from highlighting the problem, we are still seeing disparities in dementia services.
With GPs increasingly being encouraged to spot the signs of dementia in their patients, it’s vital that ongoing support is in place for those once diagnosed too. More investment into memory clinics is needed to help them provide a consistently effective service; gaining accreditation and maintaining acceptable waiting times.
The NHS has already made a commitment to improving diagnosis rates but more needs to be done to ensure people with dementia are getting support at the next stage of their journey.’
George McNamara
Head of Public Affairs and Policy    Alzheimer’s Society
  • One in three people over 65 will develop dementia 
  • Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051 
  • Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them  
  • Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland 
  • Alzheimer’s Society has a plan to deal with dementia. Help us support people to live well today and fight for a world without dementia tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting   
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit 
©  Alzheimer's Society - July 2013


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