90% of GPs think people with dementia need more support

A new survey has revealed that three quarters of GPs think their patients with dementia rely on family as they don't get enough help from health and social care services.  90% think people need more help to cope with the lonelyness associated with dementia.

Almost as many (73%) believe their patients are forced to depend on friends, neighbours and other unpaid carers for support, while half of GPs think the NHS is doing too little to care for people with the condition. More than two-thirds believe patients don't get enough provision from adult social services after a diagnosis.

The survey initiated by the Alzheimer’s Society suggests patients' lack of access to services may be undermining a national drive to improve rates of dementia diagnosis. Over a quarter of GPs (27%) admitted they would be less likely to refer people with suspected dementia for diagnosis if support services are not in place.  

Other key findings include:

  • Less than one in ten GPs say people with dementia get enough statutory support to deal with loneliness and maintain a good diet 
  • Only one in four doctors (27%) believe the NHS and social services give people with dementia enough support to tackle anxiety and depression
  • 73% believe patients, families and carers are left confused by the health and social care system
  • Nearly a quarter of GPs (23%) said they haven't had sufficient training in dementia to give them a good understanding of how to manage a person with the condition

The report urges the government and agencies to aim higher to transform the lives of people with dementia. It warns that a gathering 'momentum of change' will be lost unless statutory and voluntary sector agencies redouble their efforts to improve dementia care.

Key recommendations include:

  • NHS England and local authorities to ensure everyone diagnosed with dementia is entitled to a full package of support including a Dementia Adviser 
  • A single point of contact to help carers navigate the health and social care system
  • All hospitals, care homes and home care to be dementia friendly