THURROCK GPs will be paid Â£55 for every patient they diagnose with dementia under a new NHS England scheme.
However, there has been concerns expressed that the national project amounted to “cash for diagnoses” in allowing doctors to make a direct profit if they classify patients as suffering from dementia.
Patients groups and doctors have condemned the schemes, saying they amounted to a “bounty on the head” of the most vulnerable, which could cloud the judgements of those making diagnoses.
But the Patients Association called it "a step too far" that would mean a "bounty on the head" of some patients.
Fewer than half of the 800,000 people in the UK who are estimated to have dementia have been formally diagnosed.
Dementia is an umbrella term used for a collection of symptoms resulting from a number of different diseases of the brain.
There are many types but all tend to affect brain function and cause problems with memory, mental agility, language skills, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Under the scheme, doctors would receive the money for every extra patient given a diagnosis of dementia over a six-month period.
NHS England said it was "not just payment for diagnosis" and GP practices would have to form a detailed plan and show improving diagnosis rates.
Dr Martin McShane, national director for long term conditions at NHS England, said: "Dementia can be devastating both for individuals and their families.
"We know that more needs to be done across the health service to ensure that people living with dementia are identified so that they can get the tailored care and support they need.
"This additional investment is part of a larger range of measures to support GPs in their work tackling dementia."