Latimer Hinks Solictors has welcomed proposals for advancements in the diagnosis of dementia but warns that relatives and carers should be aware of issues surrounding both diagnosis and misdiagnosis.
The NHS has proposed that it will give GP surgeries £55 for every patient on their list who has been diagnosed with dementia in the six months up to next March, as part of a drive to get the rate of diagnosis up from about 50% to two-thirds of all those who develop the condition.
The Darlington based firm has a team specialising in issues of capacity including property and financial affairs, health and personal welfare, the registration process for Enduring and Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection matters. The team also advises in contentious Probate, Trustee and Attorney cases where capacity may well be an issue.
Daniel Williams, a solicitor at Latimer Hinks, said: "This is an example of the seriousness the Government is attaching to dementia. It also emphasises that there will be a growing number of cases of dementia being diagnosed in the coming years, which makes it more important than ever that everyone is aware of the issues surrounding capacity.
"If individuals lose their mental faculties and they do not have in place an appropriate Power of Attorney, then an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy empowered to act on their behalf. Such applications can be extremely lengthy and costly.
"We always encourage individuals to put in place Powers of Attorney as a precaution to ensure that people of their choice are appropriately authorised to act on their behalf should the need arise.
Although GPs are already paid for conducting asthma reviews and ensuring patients with high cholesterol counts are prescribed statins, they are not rewarded for identifying any particular condition.
Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has condemned diagnosis rates of dementia, which were just 37% as recently as 2010, as shockingly low and "a national shame. There are thought to be up to 400,000 people in England with dementia who have not been diagnosed.
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