We’ve been looking at dementia services from the point of diagnosis to end of life care with patients, carers and clinicians.

Unfortunately, we found that some services aren’t working as well as they could do. People told us that services are fragmented, there is no continuity of staff and they have to wait too long to get a diagnosis. So, it’s time we do things differently. (Am I right?)

This might not affect you directly, but you may have older relatives or family friends who this could mean a great deal to. Let’s face it, you must have noticed that lots of older people live in Dorset, which means demand for dementia services will only grow in the future. We best be prepared.

Over 300 people helped us come up with new ideas for better models of care. We went from a long, long list of options that looked at sustainability, better patient experience and whether it could actually be implemented, to just one option that best met all those criteria.

The proposals have been scrutinised by Health Scrutiny Committees made up of local elected councillors and Wessex Clinical Senate, an independent group of healthcare professionals who assess whether they believe proposals will improve patient care. (It might not sound exciting, but it’s important to check we’re on the right lines…)

So what are we proposing?

We found that some services only operate in half of the county, while day hospitals deliver care in different ways. So step one is making sure people living with dementia, their families and carers, receive the same high quality, compassionate care across the whole of Dorset.

How are we going to do that?

Well, it won’t come cheap. We want to invest an extra £670,000 for dementia services during the first year alone. This could help us to reach our ambition to make sure patients receive a diagnosis within 6 weeks of visiting their GP.

What else?

For the small numbers of patients with more challenging behaviours, specialist staff would continue to provide care at the 40 specialist inpatient beds at Alderney Hospital in Poole. At the same time, support in the patient’s own home would improve to reduce the need for hospital admissions, where possible.

We’d also like to introduce 32 new dementia coordinator roles to make sure each patient has an individual care plan in place and is able to get to the right services when they need them.

So what do I need to do?

A public consultation is taking place from Monday 17 June to Sunday 11 August 2019. You are more than welcome to attend an event (there are loads taking place all over Dorset) to learn about the proposed changes to dementia services, or why not check out our animation online?

Once you feel you’ve got a handle on it, tell us what you think.

You can find out more at www.dorsetccg.nhs.uk/dementia.