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Dementia patients can wait up to TWO YEARS for a diagnosis, an audit shows

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Dementia patients can wait up to TWO YEARS for diagnosis due to ‘postcode lottery’ of care, audit shows

  • The average waiting time for a diagnosis is 17.7 weeks, compared to 13 before the pandemic
  • Some people are seen immediately, but others may wait up to 104 weeks
  • 35% of patients had an appointment via phone or video call during the pandemic
  • Over 80% reported problems related to virtual meetings

Dementia patients face a postcode lottery for care, with some waiting up to two years for a diagnosis, a damning audit reveals.

Patients are waiting an average of 17.7 weeks to find out if they have the condition after being referred to a memory assessment service, compared with 13 weeks before the pandemic.

However, the average masks a huge time range, with some people being seen immediately while others face a wait of up to 104 weeks, the report reveals.

This compares with a range of three to 34 weeks in the 2019 NHS audit.

Dementia patients face a postcode lottery for care, with some waiting up to two years for a diagnosis, a damning audit reveals.  Image: file image

Dementia patients face a postcode lottery for care, with some waiting up to two years for a diagnosis, a damning audit reveals. Image: file image

Last night Hilda Hayo, chief executive of the charity Dementia UK, said the “stark” findings were “unacceptable”. She added that thousands of families are struggling to get a diagnosis and receive advice and support.

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The Royal College of Psychiatrists compared data from 63 clinics across England and Wales between 2021 and 2019 in the first major analysis of how the pandemic has affected dementia care.

It found that 35 percent of patients had an appointment via phone or video call.

More than 80 percent of the 115 patients or their caregivers who responded to a survey conducted as part of the research reported problems with virtual appointments.

NHS recruits Reiki healers

An NHS trust has been slammed after advertising for a reiki healer despite there being “no scientific evidence” that it helps patients.

Manchester University Trust is looking for a ‘Spiritual Healer/Reiki Therapist’ on up to £26,000 per annum. Originating in Japan, Reiki is designed to relieve stress and pain by channeling “universal energy” from the healer.

The position is funded by a charity, but The Good Thinking Society, which challenges the “pseudoscience”, insisted: “The NHS should not be supporting it, not even indirectly.”

NHS England said there is “no scientific evidence” that reiki is an effective clinical treatment. The Trust stressed that reiki is “in no way a substitute for established medical treatments”.

These included barriers caused by a visual or hearing impairment, difficulty using technology, and the assessee presenting himself differently over the phone than face-to-face.

One patient said: “Having a stranger tell you on a TV screen that you have Alzheimer’s is quite hard to accept.”

In the first lockdown, 62 percent of services were shut down for one to six months.

Employees who were reassigned or unable to work due to the pandemic covered 83 percent of services.

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The result was a zip code lottery where less than half of patients – 43 per cent – ​​received all four routine examinations at the clinics. Seven percent of patients had no clinical routine examinations at all or this was not documented.

The number who received all four routine assessments ranged from 0 to 100 percent, revealing huge differences across the country.

Research has shown that individuals with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia, but that this effect can be reversed with hearing aids.

Yet only 58 percent of patients had a recorded hearing discussion and only 61 percent had a vision discussion.

For the other two assessments, 76 percent discussed their history of falls, while 78 percent discussed alcohol consumption. It is estimated that one million Britons will be living with dementia by 2025.

An NHS spokesman said: “The number of referrals for memory-related conditions over the past three months is higher than the same period in 2019.

“NHS staff are working hard to restore services and improve support.”

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