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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


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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
  • funding

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.



Download the English national memory clinics audit report 2014

Publication date: 10 December 2015

Published by: Royal College of Psychiatrists

Publication no: CCQI193

Memory Clinics Audit report 2014


Interactive map

An interactive map of England showing colour-coded patches for waiting times, involvement in research and membership of the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP).


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 services.


Waiting times

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.


Psychosocial interventions

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 team


If you have any questions about the audit, please contact us.



Royal College of Psychiatrists, 21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB





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