National Audit of Memory Clinics 2014
The Department of Health in collaboration with the Royal College
of Psychiatrists conducted two audits in 2013 and 2014 of the
provision of memory clinics/services in England. We asked all
memory clinics/services (definition below) in England to complete a
short questionnaire, including:
- waiting times
- percentage of people diagnosed in early
stages of dementia
- numbers of service users accessing
psychological interventions and research programmes
This information is used to monitor the progress on the key
commitments regarding memory clinics in the
Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, and is compared with
the findings in the NHS Information Centre’s 2011 report Establishment
of Memory Services. Comparison is also drawn
between 2013 and 2014.
How do you
define a memory clinic/memory service?
A memory clinic/service is defined as
a multidisciplinary team (either NHS or private) that
assesses and diagnoses dementia, and may provide psychosocial
interventions for dementia. This can include Community Mental
Health Teams for Older People.
Publication date: 10
Published by: Royal College
Publication no: CCQI193
2014 - Key Findings and Recommendations
Between 2013 and 2014, the number of patients
seen by memory clinics increased by 31% on average, although
available capacity did not increase significantly. It is crucial
that resources are allocated appropriately to memory clinics to
ensure that all those who need it receive timely assessment,
diagnosis and high quality follow-up care.
In both 2013 and 2014, budgets ranged from
tens of thousands to millions of pounds. For around two-thirds of
clinics that provided funding information in both 2013 and 2014,
the budget stayed the same or increased between the years, and the
remainder had a reduction in their funding. Consideration should be
made as to why substantial variation occurs in funding for
The average waiting time from referral to
assessment increased from 5.2 weeks in 2013 to 5.4 weeks in 2014,
and waiting time from assessment to diagnosis increased from 8.4 to
8.6 weeks. Differences in average waiting times between services
also increased, with the wait between receipt of referral and first
assessment being as little as one week and as long as 32 weeks.
Length of wait from referral to first assessment is too great in
some areas and needs to be addressed, with additional resources
where necessary to reduce longer waits to acceptable levels.
Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) and life
story work are available to people with dementia in around
two-thirds of memory clinics. Education and support for carers is
available to almost all clinics. These figures did not increase
greatly between 2013 and 2014. CST is an intervention recommended
by NICE and all memory clinics should aim to provide or gain access
to this therapy.
Contact the audit
If you have any questions about the audit, please contact us.
Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1