Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia welcomes a new online service to help people with dementia, their families and carers:
Tackling dementia is a priority for NHS England.
It is our ambition that two thirds of people with dementia should receive a formal diagnosis and accompanying post diagnostic support.
A timely diagnosis and support are key aspects of improving the quality of care for people with dementia, their families and carers.
We also have the challenge of reducing the average wait across England for a full dementia diagnostic assessment which currently stands at six weeks from GP referral.
Three quarters of memory services offer people an assessment within an average of six weeks but in some areas the wait can be much longer. This situation is unfair to patients and their carers and clinically unacceptable. We have committed to investing £90 million to tackle dementia diagnosis.
Three major British businesses have all pledged to train their staff to provide support to customers with dementia. Marks & Spencer, Home Retail Group – which own Argos and Homebase – and Lloyds Bank – have 120,000 staff in total.
Following the landmark agreement between the G8 countries in December 2013, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that Dr Dennis Gillings has been appointed by the Prime Minister as our World Dementia Envoy.
He plans to create a World Dementia Council to stimulate innovation, development and commercialisation of life enhancing drugs, treatments and care for people with dementia, and in protection of those at risk of dementia.
With a view to supporting people with their families and carers, we have commissioned NHS Choices to set up a free email and web-chat service.
People who subscribe to the email service will get six emails – one each week – giving them access to the best online content from high quality sources such as the Alzheimer’s Society.
By covering a different topic each week, the service delivers vital information in manageable chunks to help users break down the many challenges they face into achievable tasks.
The email programme will cover key areas including understanding dementia, getting the best dementia care, caring for someone at home, social care and support for carers.
NHS Choices has joined forces with the Alzheimer’s Society to offer a web-chat facility with advice and support to dementia sufferers, their families and carers. People can access the web-chat via the on-line NHS Choices Dementia Guide where there is a web-chat button which people can click on to start an anonymous, real-time web-chat with a trained adviser from the Alzheimer’s Society.
This service is available Monday to Friday 9am to 12 noon. Outside of these hours there is a phone number for people to call the Alzheimer’s Society direct.
I would welcome any comments you have. Please email me at: Alistair.email@example.com