As the need for services for people with dementia grows, and the benefits of early intervention become clear, it has become important to understand what factors may improve access to services for people with early-stage dementia. There are a number of models of service access, and these emphasise different areas, whether individual factors, relationships, or social context. The relevance of these models to variations in service access for people with early-stage dementia, and how well they relate to professional accounts, is not well known. In this study, 30 key professionals were interviewed about access to services for people with early-stage dementia in order to explore how different models of access were reflected in their own understandings. People with early-stage dementia were thought to have a range of complex needs, but participants felt these needs remained largely unmet. When articulating the reasons why they thought needs were unmet, participants focused on the impact of the framework within which services are delivered. The findings highlight the importance of considering relationships and socio-contextual factors, such as the impact of the framework of service delivery, when attempting to understand variations in access to services. In order to improve access to services, it will be necessary to move beyond addressing individual factors relating to access, and to consider the impact of the framework for service delivery and the relationships that influence contact with services.