Warning over NHS reform and dementia demand

The Government's reforms of the NHS will not tackle the growing demand from dementia sufferers, according to a new report.

The number of people with the condition is expected to soar as the population ages, with more than a million people diagnosed by 2021.

The number with undiagnosed dementia is also set to double to almost 600,000 by 2021.

Diagnosis rates currently stand at about 40% and a report out today warns that giving GPs control of commissioning services could cause even more problems.

The study, from the think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), analysed services in London and found issues with the future commissioning of dementia care.

Fewer than one in three GPs in the capital said they were able to diagnose dementia or to provide sufficient help for sufferers, the report said.

It found particularly poor care for the over-80s and a lack of services for those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Experts behind the study called for stronger links between health and social care to offer people with dementia optimal care.

They said dementia also needs to be seen as a priority, and local authorities should retain a role in scrutinising the care that is provided.

The NHS Commissioning Board, which will oversee how services are bought for patients, should ensure GPs are held directly accountable for the quality of dementia care they provide.

Further evidence is also needed on how providing early interventions for dementia can produce cost savings.

Rick Muir, associate director at the think-tank, said it was clear dementia care was inadequate and, at the same time, "GPs admit that they do not have the skills to deal with this growing care crisis.

"The health reforms which bring in new commissioning arrangements are an opportunity to ensure that the wedge between health and social care doesn't grow - leaving dementia sufferers stuck in the middle with inappropriate or inadequate levels of care.

"But at the moment it is far from clear that changes will rise to the challenge.

"It's essential under the new commissioning framework that both GPs and social care commissioners are held truly accountable, that good practice is driven forward and that joint working is supported.

"If this doesn't happen, many vulnerable elderly people will not get the care they need."

The report comes as Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the NHS will not be able to meet the demands of people with long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma unless it changes.

There will be a 252% increase in the number of over-65s with one or more such conditions by 2050, he said.

Almost one in three people currently have a long-term condition, such as asthma, heart and lung disease, arthritis, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Mr Lansley said the NHS needs to reform if it is to cope with the growing numbers, and offer support to keep people out of hospital, which also saves money.

But the head of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said Mr Lansley's reforms are leading to thousands of job cuts, including among nurses who specialise in long-term conditions.

Dr Peter Carter said the cuts will put vulnerable patients at risk and the reforms will cost billions.

A poll of 1,000 members of the public found almost two-thirds (65%) did not want GPs to extend their duties beyond caring for patients.

Asked the question: "The Government is proposing that doctors should not concentrate solely on medical matters, but should also take on a role in organising payments for hospital care. Do you agree or disagree with this change?", 27% agreed, 65% disagreed, 7% said they did not know.

Paul Evans, director of campaign group the NHS Support Federation, which commissioned the poll, said: "The public are joining in the unprecedented chorus of opposition to the NHS shake-up.

"It is the wrong idea at the wrong time and health staff, charities and health experts are set against them.

"The political heat is rising and the Government must recognise how unpopular these plans have become and change them.

"The public are waking up to the reality of the reforms, which will break up the NHS and put business motives at the heart of the service.

"At a time of severe cuts, these flawed reforms risk rising waiting lists, undermining patient care, huge unfairness and a waste of public funds."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Manager - Production

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager

    £25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss