The UK government is expanding its diagnostic tests to include blood tests, and plans to offer a free blood test for everyone under 25.
The move comes after a recent study found that people in poor communities who didn’t get proper health coverage had a lower chance of getting diagnosed with dementia.
A spokesperson for the health ministry said the government will also be expanding testing for diabetes, which is more common in black and ethnic minority groups.
The tests are being rolled out by a private company called NHS UK, which will now have the final say on the tests’ design and availability.
“We are working closely with NHS UK to ensure that the services we offer are accessible to all and we’re committed to ensuring that people with dementia and other conditions have access to testing and services that are appropriate for their needs,” the spokesperson said.
Dr. David McDonough, chief executive of NHS UK said the tests are essential to help people with a range of conditions and diseases.
Dr McDonoh said people who had low income or other barriers to access health care would have access.
“We know that dementia is an issue in disadvantaged communities, and we know that the NHS is at the forefront of the battle against dementia.
It’s not only about diagnosing people with it, it’s about ensuring that they get the care they need,” Dr McDonogh said.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said people with pre-existing conditions should have access if they have a test that meets the NHS standard.
Health Minister Jo Johnson said there would be a “significant investment” in the tests.
Read more about the NHS tests here