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Health and care leaders have come together to drive improvements in dementia services and deliver on key ambitions set out in the Prime Minister’s dementia challenge

The Champion Group brings together representatives from the health sector, social care, local government and charities. They will be tasked with driving work on the ground to ensure that health and social care services get to grips with improving services for both people with dementia and their carers.

Last month the Prime Minister announced plans to make the UK a world leader on dementia. The programme aims to deliver major improvements in dementia care, dementia awareness and dementia research by 2015. Three ‘Champion Groups’ are being established to lead the work on each strand.

Actions set out for improving dementia care include increasing diagnosis, rewarding best practice, and ensuring memory services are both established across the country and accredited, giving people with dementia access to high quality services.

The Dementia Health and Care Champion Group, co-chaired by Sarah Pickup, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Sir Ian Carruthers OBE, Chief Executive of NHS South of England, held its first meeting today.

The group will take a broad approach to tackling the issue of dementia services, with a focus on how social care services, the NHS and local government organisations can work together to effect real change.

In addition to the specific actions set out in the Prime Minister’s challenge, the group’s approach will also include:

  •  Improving end of life care for people with dementia;
  •     Improving housing and social care accommodation – supporting innovative solutions to support people with dementia to continue to live at home;
  •     Promoting partnership working between primary and secondary health services and local government;
  •     Reducing the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medication for people with dementia.

 Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said:

We are determined to go further and faster in bringing real improvements to the care and support people with dementia and their carers receive in all settings.

Early diagnosis is key as it allows people to plan for their future, preventing the need for crisis intervention, premature admission to hospital care, and this delivers better outcomes for people with dementia, enabling them to live well.

But we must also ensure that, once they receive a diagnosis, people have access to the right information and high quality services wherever they live.”

In England 670,000 people have dementia and the number of people developing the disease is increasing. One in three people will develop dementia and it costs society an estimated £19 billion a year.

Sarah Pickup, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said:

"There can be few more important challenges than helping people with dementia live their lives with dignity and ensuring they have access to the right kinds of high quality support and care.

"Despite the challenging times we live in there is much we can do to ensure better understanding of dementia; that the workforce is trained to understand and support people with dementia with compassion and dignity, and that people can access the information, support and services that will support them to live well with dementia.”

Sir Ian Carruthers OBE, Chief Executive of NHS South of England, said:

 “I am looking forward to working with health and social care and with service users and carers to identify the actions necessary to meet the challenge of the Prime Minister and ensure that people in all parts of the country experience the top quality care which is already delivered in some places.

“It is important that the pace of improvement is accelerated and progress made towards delivering top quality services for all who require care.”

The three champion groups will report on progress to the Prime Minister, through Department of Health Ministers in September 2012 and again in March 2013

Written by Scott Buckler
Monday, 30 April 2012 11:11

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