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Publication Detail
The UK experience of promoting dementia recognition and management in primary care.
BACKGROUND: The early and timely recognition of dementia syndrome is a policy imperative in many countries. In the UK the achievement of earlier and timelier recognition has been pursued through educational interventions, incentivisation of general practitioners and the promotion of a network of memory clinics. OBJECTIVE: The effectiveness of education, incentivisation and memory clinic activity are unknown. This article analyses data from different sources to evaluate the impact of these interventions on the incidence and prevalence of dementia, and the diagnostic performance of memory clinics. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Three data sources were used: 1) aggregated, anonymised data from a network of general practices using the same electronic medical record software, The Health Information Network (THIN), 2) UK Health & Social Care Information Centre data reports and 3) Responses to Freedom of Information Act requests. RESULTS: Educational interventions did not appear to change the recorded incidence of dementia syndrome. There was no apparent effect of education, incentives or memory clinic activity on the reported incidence of dementia syndrome between 1997 and 2011 but there were signs of change in the documentation of consultations with people with dementia. There was no clear impact of incentivisation and memory clinic activity in prevalence data. Memory clinics are seeing more patients but fewer are being diagnosed with dementia. CONCLUSION: It is not clear why there has been no upturn in documented incidence or prevalence of dementia syndrome despite substantial efforts and this requires further investigation to guide policy changes. The performance of memory clinics also needs further study.
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