During Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May) the local NHS and South Gloucestershire Council are announcing the start of consultation on two pieces of work to improve the lives of people in South Gloucestershire living with the disease.
NHS South Gloucestershire CCG is spending £100,000 on recruiting a team of Dementia Advisors, who will work with people in South Gloucestershire following diagnosis until they need specialist long-term support from social care or specialist mental health services.
"This year’s Dementia Awareness Week is geared towards people confronting their fears and anxieties about the condition, and that is something we genuinely support. The Dementia Advisors we’re recruiting will help people in that daunting period following diagnosis when their world has been turned upside down and give them and their loved ones the support and guidance they need."
"There is another important element to our work on dementia, and that is to provide care for the hundreds of people in South Gloucestershire who have not been diagnosed yet. We hope during Dementia Awareness Week that anyone concerned about their diminishing memory and its effect on their daily life will overcome any apprehension they have and make an appointment to see their GP."
- Dr Peter Bagshaw, South Gloucestershire CCG’s Clinical Lead for Dementia
The CCG and council are developing the team with the Alzheimer’s Society and local community healthcare provider Sirona care & health, and will be asking people in South Gloucestershire with an interest in dementia care to pass on any other ideas about how best to run the new service. It is expected to be operational in late July or early August.
The consultation period begins on Friday, May 27 for six weeks. Anyone wishing to comment on the proposals can read more information and provide their views on the CCG’s website then. Anyone without immediate access to a computer will be able to take part in the consultation at a public library.
The CCG and council are also beginning 13 weeks of consultation on a new three-year Joint Dementia Strategy on Monday, May 23.
There are about 1,900 South Gloucestershire residents with a diagnosis of dementia, and possibly 1,400 currently undiagnosed – based on a calculation used nationally.
The council and CCG have an aim of increasing the diagnosis rate to two-thirds or more of the estimate, from 60% currently, within the draft strategy.
They also aim to increase the number of people receiving their diagnosis within six weeks of a GP referral, and the support available to them and their carers.
"With around 1,900 South Gloucestershire residents currently diagnosed with dementia, and hundreds more who are currently undiagnosed, we are working hard to improve the support available to them and their families."
"Together with our partners at the CCG, we want to improve the diagnosis and referral rates and will shortly go out to consultation on a joint strategy which aims to tackle this important issue. We would encourage everyone to have their say so that we can help shape services to support people to live better lives."
- Cllr Ben Stokes, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Adults, Housing and Public Health Committee
The draft joint strategy will be available on the council’s website from May 23, and comments about it can be submitted in the same way as the Dementia Advisor service consultation.
Following the collation and consideration of all comments, the strategy and accompanying action plan will move towards approval by the council and CCG in the autumn.
The introduction of a primary care diagnosis pathway in South Gloucestershire has already led to a dramatic reduction in waits for diagnosis, and the local NHS aims to increase the number of people receiving their diagnosis within six weeks of a GP referral, and the support available to them and their carers.