This report captures the learning from visits to Clinical Commissioning Groups across the country, undertaken by Alistair Burns, the National Clinical Director for Dementia, in order to gather best practice in dementia diagnosis and care, and to understand the challenges and barriers facing commissioners.
During the visits a number of challenges were identified, including issues around the role of GPs in diagnosis and follow up, cultural issues, waiting times for assessment and diagnosis, support available to people with early onset dementia and workforce training.
Those CCGs making greater progress in improving dementia diagnosis rates appear to have some common features:
- The local health and care community has a coherent, focused, and clearly led plan of work to improve dementia care
- Commissioners and clinical leaders are active and visible in this pursuit, knowledgeable about what works, and proactively delivering a comprehensive strategy and action plan; working relationships are positive, and it appears that values and ambitions are shared
- Work is proactive, systematic and sustained, rather than reactive and piecemeal
- Dementia care is being mainstreamed within existing health and care services, rather
than being framed as something associated with memory services alone
- Ambitions to improve diagnosis are being progressed within the wider context of raising
awareness about dementia; improving knowledge and skills of health and care staff; understanding the role of primary care in dementia care, including care of patients living in care homes
- Voluntary and community sector organisations are key partners in the development of strategic plans and as service providers. Investments in this sector are key components of local dementia strategies.