Memory Assessment Services to respond within 2 weeks of receiving referral.

Your GP may undertake an initial memory assessment before referring you to a  Memory Assessment Services for further assessment. The Memory Assessment Service will offer you an appointment to be seen and assessed by them. You should hear from them within 2 weeks of your referral.
Your GP should provide you with advice on who to contact if you have not heard from the Memory Assessment Services within 2 weeks.
For extra information, evidence and best practice please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

National offerings

MSNAP Memory Assessment Service Standards

The Royal College of Psychiatrists have a national accreditation programme for Memory Services against key standards. The website outlines the standards and the process.


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The National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health has developed 'The Dementia Care Pathway' and this recognised that delays to psychological and pharmacological interventions are associated with an earlier decline in functioning.

Furthermore, the guidance published by the British Psychological Society for the early stages of the dementia care pathway explains that when adequate support is provided, this not only improves quality of life, but also enables people to make choices about their lives, reduces stress for their families, and means that people are less likely to require long term residential or hospital care.

Evidence suggests that post-diagnostic support provides an opportunity for both practitioners and people with dementia and their carers to work together and set realisable goals for care and support in the early stages of the disease. People value individualised information, delivered as part of a complex multi-component programme of support.

Royal College of Psychiatrist (2020) MSNAP Standards for Memory Services: "Initial contact is made with all people who are newly referred within two weeks of referral."

Clinical Review, Dementia: timely diagnosis and early intervention: "In the absence of a cure, a professional belief that nothing can be done has contributed to delays in diagnosis. However, increasing evidence showing that dementia may be preventable has led to an international focus on earlier diagnosis and intervention. This review aims to summarise current evidence and best practice in the diagnosis and early intervention in dementia care."

Best Practice Resources

The Alzheimer's Society have provided funding for a project entitled 'Facilitating early diagnosis of dementia', to read more about this project please click here.
For more information on the importance of spotting the early signs of dementia, please click here.

Wessex Academic Health Science Network, Dementia Friendly GP Surgeries implementing iSPACE:

Assessment and early identification of dementia:

  • Encourage a culture where dementia is not stigmatised
  • When someone is concerned about their memory do a formal assessment and refer if needed
  • Be aware of the need to offer early support after diagnosis
  • Audit all codes such as ‘cognitive decline’ or ‘mild memory disturbance’
  • Once coded add a ‘major alert’ to the patient notes so that everyone is aware of their diagnosis
  • Consider if possible to book double appointments for them - they need more time!
  • If people with dementia are consistently not attending appointments consider contacting them or their carer by phone to remind them of the appointment.

Bolton leads the way in dementia diagnosis: “Improving the diagnosis rate of dementia and the subsequent provision of post diagnostic support is critical as without a diagnosis, people living with dementia and their carers and family members are unable to access valuable support, information and potential treatments. A diagnosis opens the door to invaluable support that can help people with dementia to live a good quality of life and plan for the future.”

Commissioned by NHS England, Leeds Beckett University worked in partnership with a wide range of partners (including contributions from Greater Manchester and Dementia United) to produce a guide to supporting continued development, improvement and innovation in Memory Assessment Services, which is available by clicking here The reference for this is Surr et al 2021 'Taking Memory Assessment Services into the future: A guide to supporting continuous development, improvement and innovation in memory assessment services. Leeds Beckett University.

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