English national guidelines regarding dementia assessment and management recommend consideration of cultural and linguistic diversity when assessing people with cognitive complaints. To date there has been no assessment of adherence to these guidelines. We aimed to assess whether current services provided in memory assessment services (MAS) adhere to national policy, in their approach to the assessment and management of individuals with memory problems from minority ethnic backgrounds. We sent a survey to 213 memory services in England and Wales. Twenty MAS from seven regions responded to the survey. We found that 80% (16) provided translated resources, 70% (14) used cognitive assessment tools that are culturally sensitive and appropriate, and 65% (13) showed good use of sufficiently skilled and knowledgeable interpreters. Communication barriers, particularly language, were raised as a potential obstacle to diagnosing minority ethnic patients. Memory clinics appear to reflect national policy for the assessment and management of memory problems in minority ethnic patients. However, only a minority of services responded and they may be more engaged in considering these populations. We need wider knowledge of practice to explore how guidelines support healthcare professional's assessment of patients from minority ethnic groups in memory service diagnostic procedures.
Keywords: dementia; ethnicity; health inequalities; memory assessment service.