Alistair Burns

Professor Alistair BurnsAlistair Burns FRCP, FRCPsych, MD, CBE

Professor Alistair Burns is Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and Vice Dean for the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at The University of Manchester. He is an Honorary Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist in the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT) and is the National Clinical Director for Dementia and Older Peoples’ Mental Health, NHS England.

He graduated in medicine from Glasgow University in 1980 and trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and Institute of Psychiatry in London. He became the Foundation Chair of Old Age Psychiatry in The University of Manchester in 1992, where he has been Head of the Division of Psychiatry and a Vice Dean in the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, with responsibility for liaison within the NHS. He set up the Memory Clinic in MMHSCT and helped establish the old age liaison psychiatry service in UHSMT. He is a Past President of the International Psychogeriatric Association.

He is Editor of the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and is on the Editorial Boards of the British Journal of Psychiatry and International Psychogeriatrics. His research and clinical interests are in mental health problems of older people, particularly dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. He has published over 300 papers and 25 books.

Older people are losing out on Psychological Therapy – Professor Alistair Burns

Depression in older people is common, underdiagnosed, undertreated and attracts therapeutic nihilism. One in five older people have clinical depression and, contrary to some popular and professional opinion, it is eminently treatable. Depression is associated with personal suffering, more physical health problems, social isolation, suicide and increased health and social care costs.  It is a […]

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Redesigning a Memory Service the Devon way – Professor Alistair Burns and Colm Owens

NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia and a Devon-based consultant psychiatrist review impressive changes to dementia diagnosis and care in the West Country: The diagnosis of dementia can be complex and time consuming. It involves detailed clinical assessment of cognitive, mental and physical health, blood and radiological investigations and carer interviews. While memory clinics […]

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We must make the most of Alzheimer’s disease research – Professor Alistair Burns and Professor Martin Rossor

We recently wrote about the challenge for dementia clinical services if immunotherapy for Alzheimer’s disease proves to be successful. It is important to plan for the future but there is some thinking and planning to be done before we arrive there. The focus of research has shifted significantly away from established and moderately severe Alzheimer’s […]

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Great strides are being made in dementia awareness – Professor Alistair Burns

NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia marks National Dementia Awareness Week by outlining the significant progress being made in this area of care: This week gives us a great opportunity to raise the profile of dementia, to celebrate things that have been achieved and shed a light on areas where more work needs to […]

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Optimising care and support for people with dementia in care homes: The Barbican Consensus – Professor Alistair Burns and James Cross

The Five Year Forward View was published in October 2014 and presented a vision for the NHS including detailed new models of working across health and social care. The key values of the new care models were local ownership with national support and a major emphasis on clinical engagement and patient involvement. Five models were […]

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Better access to mental health services for older people – Professor Alistair Burns and Dr James Warner

NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Older People’s Mental Health, and the Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Old Age Faculty, highlight the need for age appropriate psychiatry for the elderly: Mental health services for older people took root from clinical interest in the particular needs of older people compounded by the fact that […]

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