People are being encouraged to see their doctor if they are suffering from memory problems, as an early sign of dementia, but GPs are not spotting dementia.
The campaign urging people to see their doctor with memory lapses saw a rise consultations but not in diagnoses.
Researchers looked at 15,000 people and found that whilst there may have been an influx of “worried well” which could have influenced the results, doctors are still too reluctant to send people for tests.
Researchers at University College London created a leaflet highlighting the symptoms of dementia which should be checked by a doctor.
This was sent out by 11 practices to 6,387 patients over the age of 70. About 8,000 patients at 11 other surgeries were followed as a control group.
Those who received the leaflet were 41 per cent more likely to make an appointment with the doctor. However, they were no more likely to be diagnosed with dementia. However, 224 patients were referred to specialists at memory clinics and diagnosed with the condition.
Gill Livingston, author of the study, said: ““We should be trying to get people to the GP but also talking to GPs about referring to memory clinics.” She added that long waiting times may have put GPs off making referrals.”
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