Dementia services in Harrogate and District have been awarded the Yorkshire and Humber Dementia Quality Award, for the innovative approach that the local NHS has taken to make improvements for patients, their families and carers.
Dr Richard Sweeney, GP and Governing Body Member at NHS Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Dr Tolu Olusoga, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Clinical Director at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), accepted the award at a ceremony in Leeds on 25 June.
The award is sponsored by the Regional Dementia Action Alliance, in conjunction with the Yorkshire and Humber Strategic Clinical Network for Dementia.
There are around 2,800 people with dementia in Harrogate and District and the CCG and TEWV are working together to improve local detection, diagnosis and aftercare services for these people, their families and carers.
The award is in recognition of the way that the two organisations have worked with local GP practices to streamline the way patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia receive their routine reviews. Instead of having duplicate appointments at the memory clinic and GP practice twice a year, care is now shared and patients are seen alternately by their GP and memory clinic at six monthly intervals.
Benefits for patients include care being provided in more familiar surroundings, two routine reviews per year instead of three, better sharing of care between GPs and hospital consultants, and quicker access to specialist support when it is needed. It has also made available an additional 780 appointments in the memory clinic for patients who need specialist care.
Dr Sweeney said:
We are very proud of what we have achieved and are delighted that our work has been recognised at a regional level.
The changes we have made will improve the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
We will continue working to ensure people get an earlier diagnosis, are able to make informed choices about their future and can maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Dr Olusoga said:
Receiving this award is a reflection of all the hard work, effort and commitment that our staff have put into making contact with patients more meaningful and clinically effective. We are extremely proud of the achievement and we will continue to strive to improve the care we provide to patients and carers to support patients independence for as long as possible.
This innovation is just one step that the local NHS has taken towards improving dementia services.
By restructuring the organisation of local memory clinics, working with care homes and local hospitals to ensure specialist care is available and simplifying support packages for carers, there have been many more benefits for local people including:
A reduction in average waiting times for appointments at the memory clinic from 74 to 28 days.
A 50% reduction in the time for domiciliary care to start for a person with dementia.
Better identification of patients with dementia leading to a reduction in the average length of stay in hospital following a crisis from 19 to 10.7 days.