Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctors condemn “unethical” £55 payment for every new dementia diagnosis

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 23 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6424
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1The BMJ

Doctors have condemned as “crossing an ethical line” a scheme that pays GPs in England £55 (€70; $83) each time they diagnose dementia in a patient.

Under the scheme GPs can claim the payment for diagnoses made and recorded from 1 October 2014 to 31 March 2015.1 The aim is to increase the identification of patients with dementia and to ensure that they and their families and carers get the support that they need, NHS England said.

But Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the BMA’s general practitioners committee, warned about directly linking payments to specific targets. “Decisions about an individual’s care should always be based on clinical need, not financial imperatives,” he said. He added on Twitter, “Diagnosis of dementia is important but chasing government targets is not—particularly if this undermines the doctor/patient relationship.”

The government set a target in 2012 to identify two …

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