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Prime minister warned against extra dementia testing

Prime minister warned against extra dementia testing
27th December 2012

The prime minister has been urged to rethink plans to test all patients over the age of 75 for dementia by a group of GPs worried this will deter vulnerable people from visiting their doctor.

In a letter published in the Daily Telegraph, David Cameron is warned against his plans to change the bonus structure to reward increased dementia diagnoses. The GPs suggest that the majority of those people would be labelled as having mild cognitive impairment and there is a chance this will cause them "profound anxiety, ruining their quality of life", even though it is likely this will not lead to dementia.

The letter was organised by Dr Martin Brunet, a GP from Surrey, and comes as a response to statements made by Mr Cameron throughout the course of 2012 that have seen him describe the diagnosis of dementia as "shockingly low", "collective denial" and "a scandal".

However, the GPs' letter said: "There is a very real danger that older patients will avoid visiting their doctor with significant health problems, for fear of being given a diagnosis they do not wish to have."