West Sussex moving away from ‘token approach’ on dementia

C140029-1 County Hall phot kate''County Hall.C140029-1 ENGSUS00120140701135255
C140029-1 County Hall phot kate''County Hall.C140029-1 ENGSUS00120140701135255

A strategy for helping people with dementia in West Sussex is moving away from a ‘token approach’ to the condition.

The West Sussex Dementia Framework 2014-19 was jointly developed by the NHS and West Sussex County Council and sets out the priorities for health and social care for dementia patients, their families and carers.

Peter Griffiths, West Sussex county councillor for Hurstpierpoint and Bolney (photo submitted). SUS-150610-125259001

Peter Griffiths, West Sussex county councillor for Hurstpierpoint and Bolney (photo submitted). SUS-150610-125259001

The council’s Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) set up a task and finish group to review the framework and discussed its final report last Thursday.

The group raised concerns that some actions had not yet been put in place, what impact funding reductions in the Public Health budget would have, and the availability of care at home provision.

County councillor Peter Griffiths (Con, Hurstpierpoint and Bolney) chaired the group and is his wife’s registered carer as she has Alzheimer’s.

He said: “At last we are moving from a sort of token approach to this very very big problem to something that is actually moving towards getting to do something substantial about it.”

He felt that a review of care at home services might be needed as 15 minute visits or less were not adequate.

The report suggested that the chairman of HASC write to the Health and Wellbeing Board to asking it to review how funding to implement the entire dementia framework can be assured.

It also recommended that the committee monitor the impact on any reductions to the Public Health budget, a review of the Memory Assessment Service, and diagnosis rates of dementia.

While it supported the key overall aims of integrating health and social care services and shifting the focus from acute care to community services and prevention, it expressed concern that not enough was being done to meet the gap in terms of funding and demand as dementia diagnosis rates increased.

Brenda Smith (Lab, Langley Green and West Green), who is a registered carer for her husband Jim who suffers from Alzheimer’s, described the report as ‘excellent’, and added: “The are not enough services for social isolation for the elderly, and social isolation for people with dementia is a growing problem.”

She also felt there were high levels of undiagnosed cases in West Sussex.

She explained how Jim, through the Crawley Forward Thinking Group, did talks at senior schools in the town, something that was helping ‘break down huge barriers’.

Meanwhile Pete Bradbury (Con, Cuckfield and Lucastes) described being ‘impressed’ by a recent visit to the dementia ward at Princess Royal Hospital and added: “I think it’s a good model that other people could copy.”

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