A Sheffield dementia expert has criticised a new scheme which pays GPs £55 for every person they diagnose with the condition - saying the cash ‘puts a bounty’ on patients.
The NHS England scheme means family doctors can receive money for every extra patient identified as having dementia over a six-month period. It has been brought in following pledges by ministers to improve rates of diagnosis dramatically.
But David Reid, a dementia research specialist at Sheffield University’s school of nursing and midwifery, said: “In my view incentivising GPs to diagnose more, effectively putting a ‘bounty’ on people with dementia, is strategically short-sighted.
“I am not confident that sufficient thought has gone into ensuring the existing services are able to cope with a surge in demand without compromising quality.”
Mr Reid said improvements were needed to make sure the chances of a ‘speedy, accurate diagnosis’ are equal across the country, but said the new scheme may lead other workers to demand similar payments too.
“If the principle at play is that incentives drive improvements in performance among GPs, then I imagine there will be many health and social care practitioners who undertake crucial dementia care work asking why new money isn’t being spent on offering them an improved incentives package,” he said.
A portion of GPs’ pay is already related to tasks such as taking blood pressure and measuring cholesterol.