Early detection of MCI at a GP level

By Dr Karen O'Connor, retired General Practitioner, Sheffield

A quality improvement project conducted as part of the Dementia Academy 'Mild cognitive impairment virtual course' which ran from March-September 2021.


There are an estimated 7,000 people with dementia in Sheffield, just over 1% of the city's population (Sheffield Dementia Strategy Commitments 2019). Recently, Sheffield has developed a new Dementia strategy (2019) setting out 13 commitments to delivering care and support, which aim to improve everyone’s experience of dementia. The Dementia Strategy sets out 4 elements in its vision, the first of which is 'To prevent or delay the onset of dementia by maintaining a healthier lifestyle and behaviors, across all ages, (with a focus on mid-life 40s and 50s).'

Clinical Deficit

Much of dementia prevention or brain health promotion lies within general practice. Implementation of the Dementia strategy relies on awareness of its existence and of its core content. For GPs, this specifically refers to early detection of mild cognitive impairment and appropriate referral, or advice around lifestyle modification, to protect against further cognitive decline.

Aims of intervention

To ascertain whether the GP surgeries across Sheffield are aware of the new dementia strategy and if so, to what extent they have interacted with it.

To raise awareness around the importance of brain health and encourage more of a focus on it.


To send an e-questionnaire to the circa 90 GP practices across Sheffield and their dementia implementation groups asking whether they:

  • aware of the new dementia strategy,

  • have read the strategies’ summary

  • have read the entire strategy


19 responses were received across the 90 GP practices.

  • 9 of the responses were aware of the dementia strategy, 10 were not.

The limited responses demonstrate that this is perhaps not a priority at present and that in itself is important learning given the societal burden of dementia and the current Western lifestyle model and its links with risk factors for cognitive decline (Lancet Commission review 2020).

More Dementia Academy Policy & guidance Projects

Funding dementia services 2023
By Dr Raskesh Parhboo, GP, North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group
Early detection of MCI at a GP level
By Dr Karen O'Connor, retired General Practitioner, Sheffield
Promoting prevention, supporting management

Led by proactive clinicians determined to see improvement in the way we prevent, diagnose and manage dementias, Dementia Academy supports healthcare professionals with the latest tools, resources and courses to do just that.