To receive the report.
The Committee were informed that the current Somerset Dementia Strategy is under review as the previous strategy expired. A rewrite of the current strategy is planned which will be presented to the September Older People’s Mental Health and Dementia Collaborative Service Development Group.
A small working group is currently being set up to identify the immediate priorities to improve the support and diagnosis of patients in Somerset suffering from Dementia.
Issues have been identified with the current viability of the Somerset Memory
Assessment Service due to a lack of Consultant Geriatricians; currently the
service is at 34% vacancy rate. A meeting is set to take place in April 2018 to
look at remodelling of the service to ensure that capacity is maintained across the Healthcare economy in Somerset.
Diagnosis rates of dementia in the population of Somerset are below national
required rate. A paper was presented to the Clinical Executive Committee at
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group on 8 March and it was agreed that an action plan will be devised to outline the resources and actions needed to ensure that Somerset reaches the national diagnosis rate. Somerset has older than average population and so the incidence of dementia is likely to be higher. In the county there appears to be increasing demand on many
services in relation to dementia, including primary care, A&E, acute wards and
nursing and residential care homes admissions. Earlier intervention with higher quality community-based support will help reduce some of these pressures on services – and improve the quality of life for those who have dementia and their carers.
There has been some progress made since the paper was submitted to the Committee. The service in Somerset has been remodelled to have specialist nurses working in Primary Care to focus the specialist clinicians on the most complex cases.
The Committee discussed the report and the following points were raised:
· The Committee were interested in the measures being implemented to help family care for their relatives at home. There was a question about VAT on additions to property to house elderly relatives. It was agreed that would be brought to the attention of the Somerset Housing Strategy.
· The importance of early diagnosis as this can assist in putting support in place. The fear that encouraging early diagnosis might lead to early loss of driving licence is an important factor in rural communities where the car can often be the only lifeline to independence.
The Committee welcomed the report but were concerned that it was being presented as a strategy yet there was not a strategy attached. It was agreed that the Committee would be presented with a strategic document once the alternative model was fully worked though. This would be presented to the Committee in six months and it would be added to the work programme.