A Fife dementia sufferer has spoken about his two-year battle to be given a correct diagnosis.
Chick, 75, who gave only his first name when speaking to NHS Fife Board, said he had been “palmed off” when he sought help for his memory problems.
And his wife, Janette, told board members a doctor had not believed her when she said Chick had gone missing for seven-and-a-half hours without any recollection of where he had been.
Chick said: “I was very annoyed because it felt as if I was being palmed off.
“The doctor, when I went to see him, gave me a memory test that they do.
“It was an insult to your intelligence. He said ‘I can’t find anything wrong with you’.”
Janette said: “At that time we would have been married for 50 years and all of a sudden I’ve got this different person.
“Then he disappears for seven-and- a-half hours and didn’t know where he was.
“I was told it was in my imagination.”
During the meeting at Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline, Chick described how he had memory problems after retiring five years ago.
He said others had alerted him to the fact he had also been behaving unusually.
But he was repeatedly told there was nothing wrong until he was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years later.
The couple said they were left to return home in a state of shock with little explanation of the diagnosis.
Chick said: “I felt nothing had been explained about the condition.
“What I knew about Alzheimer’s wasn’t really good press. This diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is absolutely terrifying.”
Janette added: “There should have been somebody there. When the three professionals left, it was obviously the end of their shift.
“It was ‘here’s your hat, here’s the door, bye-bye’.
“There was nobody there at all, but I believe that has changed now.”
NHS Fife chairman Allan Burns invited the couple back at a later date to hear the board’s plans for improving support for patients with dementia.
“This is clearly a major issue for us,” he said.
“I think there is a lot more we can do.”
Non-executive board member Alison Rooney said: “This doesn’t need initiatives. It’s just basic human kindness.
“If you are about to deliver that blow to somebody, you don’t just deliver it and walk out the door.
“Even if somebody was going off shift, 15 minutes of extra time to sit with these people would have made a big difference to them.”
Non-executive director Rhona Laing said the problem was not restricted to dementia cases.
Councillor Andrew Rodger highlighted the fact around 6,000 people were living with dementia across Fife.