At least two-thirds of people with dementia will receive a formal diagnosis.

If you notice changes in your memory and ability to do things that you used to find easy to do you can make an appointment with your GP for an assessment. At this appointment, you will have an initial memory assessment completed. The GP can also arrange for investigations to be undertaken to rule out other potential causes for memory loss, and may refer you to a Memory Assessment Service if appropriate. You will be able to access support and information whilst you await your assessment.
For extra information, evidence and best practice please scroll down to the bottom of the page.

National offerings

NHS England Dementia

Dementia is a key priority for both NHS England and the Government. NHS England's work includes:
  • Developing an access and waiting time standard for dementia, so people with dementia have equal access to diagnosis as for other conditions; setting the national average for an initial assessment
  • Achieving and maintaining the dementia diagnosis rate. NHS England agreed a national ambition for diagnosis rates that two thirds of the estimated number of people with dementia in England should have a diagnosis with appropriate post-diagnostic support
  • Post diagnostic care and support; as there has been substantial progress on diagnosis, NHS England will focus on improving post-diagnostic support
Other organisations and sectors are crucial to helping NHS England deliver improvements to services for those with dementia and their carers. NHS England are working in collaboration with: Alzheimer’s Society, Public Health England, Department of Health, ADASS, Care UK, clinical commissioning groups, GP practices, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Psychiatrists, amongst other stakeholders to develop NHS England’s five year transformation plan for people with dementia.
NHS England have developed a Dementia Well Pathway which outlines standards across all aspects of the Pathway from prevention, diagnosing, supporting, living and dying well.
The NHS England dementia-well-pathway can be accessed here:
You can access the NHS England dementia programme of work here:

NICE Dementia Guidance

This guideline brings together all the research and evidence which covers assessment, diagnosis, treatment and support. It is for people at risk of developing dementia, people who are referred for assessment, people living with dementia as well as being for family and friends and health and social care staff and commissioners. It aims to improve care by making recommendations on standards people should expect to receive from their assessment, care and support as well as on training.
We have provided links to the NICE guideline for dementia and a further link is provided to guidance on how to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) NG16 (2015) Dementia, disability and frailty in later life – mid-life approaches to delay or prevent onset:
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2019) Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers:

Young onset Dementia: Decision-making guide for GPs

The Young Dementia Network has developed a Decision-making guide for GPs, endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, to aid the recognition of the symptoms of dementia in younger people.



We know that getting a diagnosis gives people with dementia and their families the best chance to prepare for the future and access treatment and support to lead active fulfilling lives. For more information click here

The government is focused on increasing the number of people who can access a diagnosis of dementia. They set a target of at least two thirds of people who have dementia are able to access a formal diagnosis.

Department of Health and Social Care (2019) The Government's revised mandate to NHS England for 2018-19: "Maintain a minimum of two-thirds diagnosis rate for people with dementia."

Department of Health (2016) Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia 2020 Implementation Plan: "NHS England has achieved the aim of increasing the proportion of people with dementia who are able to get a formal diagnosis from under half, to at least two-thirds of people affected. However, we need to maintain this minimum level over time and address the underlying variation between CCGs in diagnosis rates and availability of post-diagnosis support."

Best Practice Resources

The following best practice resources are available.

  • Whilst you wait for an assessment there is information available from Dementia Change Action Network (2021) Next Steps titled 'Living well while waiting for a memory assessment' by clicking here This includes how to plan for your appointment and what support you can be accessing.
  • 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.
  • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)(2019) Dementia: assessment, management and support for people living with dementia and their carers guideline can be accessed by clicking here The guideline includes recommendations on:
    1. involving people living with dementia in decisions about their care assessment and diagnosis
    2. interventions to promote cognition, independence and wellbeing
    3. pharmacological interventions
    4. managing non-cognitive symptoms
    5. supporting carers
    6. staff training and education
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