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Volunteers will help diagnose dementia earlier and support patients in the community

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7601 (Published 09 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7601
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

The government has called on a million people to act as “Dementia Friends” in a new initiative to improve the diagnosis and care of dementia in England.

The volunteers will be trained to recognise the signs of dementia and to provide support for those with the condition in their community. The volunteer army would also boost early diagnosis of dementia, the Department of Health says, and help the public to a better understanding of the condition. Once trained, they will be rewarded with a “forget me not” badge to identify them as being able to assist people with dementia.

The department also announced that all health professionals are to be required to ask all patients between the ages of 65 and 74 about their memory; the UK Biobank is to be given £9.6m (€12m; $15.3m) to …

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