National Audit of Dementia: Memory Assessment Services Spotlight Audit 2021

Reports | Published: 11 Aug 2022

The National Audit of Dementia (NAD) has published its spotlight audit into memory assessment services. Based on data from 5970 case notes of patients seen for initial assessment between January and August 2021, the report looks at community-based memory assessment services in England and Wales.

The report found that the average waiting time from referral to diagnosis has increased to 17.7 weeks since 2019, up from 13 weeks. It also found that over 70% of services experienced periods of closure, and over 80% had staff redeployed during 2020. Other key findings include:

  • 35% of patients had an appointment via phone or video call, while 45% took place at their usual place of residence.
  • As part of their initial assessment, 61% of patients had a discussion recorded about their eyesight, 58% had a discussion recorded about hearing, and 76% had a falls history discussed and recorded.
  • CT/MRI scans were requested for 47% of patients, with variation in requests of 0-97.4% of patients per service. This range implies that variation is at service/protocol level, rather than assessed as appropriate in each case.

The report goes on to make a number of recommendations, including a call for services to use quality improvement methods to actively monitor waiting times from referral to diagnosis, and identify problem areas and barriers to access, including demographic and other factors (e.g. care home residents), as services continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated service closures and staff redeployment.

Read the full report: You can read the report by clicking on the link below.

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National Audit of Dementia: Memory Assessment Services Spotlight Audit 2021