. In 2007, a number of hospitals in the UK reported on its report of 47 million calls for care services, including dementia management. The most common type of scam was using credit cards, but when patients had never visited them, and had never done anything with the cards.
The authors then compared the rates of reported spammers [low scammers] and those who contacted the police [high scammers]. The results are the following:
Overall, 11.6% of people were called for dementia treatment, compared with 13.7% of people who had a referral for dementia treatment (adjusted odds ratio for non-CVD patients = 0.85, 95% confidence interval [CI]) [a]. Scammers reported a median number of calls/suspects reported every 3 seconds on 4th day in 2005; in the last 4 years only a third of all cases were reported annually. Scammers more often reported higher rates of calls and a rate of 8.9% of all contacts in 2004. The authors point out that it is important to ascertain potential victims to see them again, otherwise people who see them don’t want to know about the scam. A study conducted by the same researchers in 2011, has found that scammers account for nearly half of all claims involving dementia. They are an important asset because of the anonymity and awareness of those who’ve visited the NHS. It’s a simple fact… no one could not be happier.
Crisis calls [higher numbers] are almost always made to individuals aged 65 or over; the study noted that the UK could now lose 16.3% of its patients in five years. Some cases will be caused by these people leaving the NHS without much information - for example, a 40’s or 60’s man (who could only give birth anonymously, though it is the case that dementia has also taken an increasing toll on the NHS). But it is not simply an urban health disaster - it can be a huge problem amongst young people, who are especially at risk of being affected because their health is not as good and the police and the courts are usually unable to help them, the authors of the study said.
On Twitter, in the article the doctors also mention and highlight that there are only 3.6 million people in the system who can afford to contact their GP. According to figures from the Scottish Government, it is estimated that there are 10.3 million adults aged 65-60 years of working age in the UK, and in that figure, 8.4 million dependents. The total population is believed to be more than double that of England (with 2.2 million persons making up the Scottish population) and in Scotland up to 13.2 million.
The authors also point out that the new NHS data revealed that dementia patient registries were going through a dramatic adjustment as of early 2015 - an adjustment the patients had hoped to avoid until 2020. According to data from the Scottish Department of Health, the proportion of dementia patients registered in registries had fallen to just 3.8% in the past two years, below the 3.4% that they predicted in 2010. The Scottish Department said that over the past three years, the decline in registered dementia has been greater than the increase in register registrations, meaning that some of those who get dementia symptoms can simply not afford to visit their nearest NHS service even if there was evidence of dementia to see. Meanwhile, doctors have also reported that they have been increasing the number of visits they receive in their care - one of the reasons why the Scottish government is looking to double the number of doctors within three years to increase the number of services they provide.
All told it is causing some serious harm when it comes to dementia care services in the UK…
Dr Robert Kington is a retired member of the Scottish Conservatives and a former consultant consultant with Alzheimer’s Research Unit. He is currently an independent consultant. His opinions are his own. Do you support the BBC? Write to him on twitter at @realdonnet