GP payments to identify dementia: would it work here?

In Britain, they’re paying doctors to make dementia diagnoses. So would it work in Australia? Early diagnosis is important, but there’s other factors at play.

The United Kingdom has introduced a payment of roughly $100 to GPs for every dementia diagnosis they make in an effort to increase diagnosis and early treatment rates. Would a similar incentive work in Australia?

“Early diagnosis makes a whole lot of sense,” according to University of New South Wales associate professor Tom Keating, explaining that it is not just the UK that has problems with lateness in diagnosing dementia.

He thinks providing incentives to facilitate this “would seem like an appropriate thing to do”, but stresses that Australia’s health funding system works differently to the NHS.

Whereas the Australian model is based on fee-for-service, in which Medicare pays GPs per visit, British payments are capitated, meaning patients are enrolled at a clinic and payments are made for the enrolment period based on the patient’s health needs, whether or not that patient seeks care.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.