Dementia is one of the greatest public health challenges of our era. There are an estimated 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and by 2021 this will increase to over one million. The impact of this disorder on patients, their carers, other family members and society is profound. Timely diagnosis allows patients to benefit from current therapies, plan for the future, and maximise their quality of life. However, there is a 'diagnosis gap' in UK general practice, with less than two-thirds of expected patients receiving a dementia diagnosis. Currently diagnosis often occurs late or not at all and opportunities for therapeutic intervention are missed.
Higher diagnosis rates in general practice, and diagnosis earlier in the disease course, are strategic aims for the UK government and NHS, set out in the National Dementia Strategy, Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge, NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia, NHS England Dementia Identification Scheme and the GP Dementia Toolkit.