New team set up to improve NHS Forth Valley’s dementia care

Central Scotland Conservative MSP Alison Harris has highlighted figures which show NHS Forth Valley's performance is lacking when it comes to dementia care
Central Scotland Conservative MSP Alison Harris has highlighted figures which show NHS Forth Valley's performance is lacking when it comes to dementia care

NHS Forth Valley responded to its poor dementia care performance by creating a new service which will cater to each patient’s individual needs.

Central Scotland MSP Alison Harris highlighted Information Service Division Scotland statistics from 2016/17 which state only 43.9 per cent of people diagnosed with dementia in NHS Forth Valley were referred to post diagnostic support – below the Scottish average of 46.7 per cent.

And of those referred for care, only 65.8 per cent received the full 12 months post-diagnostic support – the Scottish average of people referred who received a whole year of support was 83.9 per cent.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “It should be noted these figures are from 2016-17 and a new national dementia strategy was launched in June 2017. One of the key priorities of this three-year strategy is to make more progress on the provision of support after diagnosis in a bid to transform services for people living with dementia.”

An NHS Forth Valley spokesperson added: “NHS Forth Valley is working hard to deliver a person centred approach to post diagnostic support for people diagnosed with dementia. To achieve this we are in the process of creating a multi-agency service which includes professionals from healthcare, Alzheimer Scotland and Social Services which will allow for individualised, timely support to be delivered for the initial post diagnostic period and beyond.”

One of the partners in the new multi-agency service, Alzheimer Scotland, noted the disappointing figures and stated, while some progress had been made, there was a lot more that could be done.

Jim Pearson, of Alzheimer Scotland, said: “Five years ago, the Scottish Government introduced this world leading commitment to offer high quality post diagnostic support for every person diagnosed with dementia in Scotland.

“We know from experience that this crucial support can make a real difference for people with dementia, their families and carers. It can also help avoid wasting vital resources through preventable and costly crisis care.

“There has been progress made since its implementation, but it is slowing down. Alzheimer Scotland is deeply disappointed that five years after this national guarantee was made, fewer than half of those entitled to it are offered post diagnostic support.

“That is not good enough for people living with dementia, or for our health and social care systems which cannot afford to continue to be crisis driven.

“Only sustained investment, and leadership at local and national level will ensure that every person diagnosed with dementia has access to the high-quality post diagnostic support that was promised to them.”

for more information on services available call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24-Hour freephone Helpline on 0808 808 3000.