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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Call for dementia checks at 75

28th March 2011

Health charity The Alzheimer's Society has said the NHS should perform checks for dementia once people reach the age of 75.

Old Woman 400

The charity said less than 50% of people with the condition received a diagnosis and as a result many people did not receive the care they needed.

The UK National Screening Committee said treatments and testing for dementia had to improve before these types of checks could be implemented.

It is thought around three quarters of a million people in the UK have dementia and predictions show this number could rise to more than a million within a decade.

Professor Clive Ballard, the charity's director of research, said that people needed to be given a diagnosis to ensure the correct support and treatment were offered.

"Really the only way we're going to improve identification is through effective screening, and probably the right time to do that screening is over the age of 75 once dementia starts to become more common," he added.

Dr Laurence Buckman, from the British Medical Association, said the idea of carrying out screenings for dementia was a good one and many doctors would be pleased to do them. However he warned that many GPs would not have the time to perform the checks.

"It takes an hour to do an assessment, during which time five other patients could have been seen. In the current economic climate, when the NHS is being asked to make huge efficiency savings and there are many equally valid competing demands, patients and the public need to have a debate over which services should be prioritised."

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