A new partnership, Dementia United, has been launched (Friday 13 November), which recognises dementia as a devolution priority for Greater Manchester.
Dementia United – led by Sir David Dalton of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, Alzheimer’s Society and Greater Manchester health and social care devolution team – is a vehicle to help experts and patients come together to look at ways of improving all aspects of daily life for people living with dementia in the region. The partnership will also include the involvement of a range of associated organisations from charity groups, emergency services, mental health providers and housing and cultural organisations.
This collaborative approach, which will consider a whole range of elements from housing to transport and work and shopping, will then result in an announcement in March (2016) giving further details and a proposed five-year programme plan for Greater Manchester.
Sir David Dalton, Chief Executive of Salford Royal, said: “Dementia United provides a perfect platform to address the Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia care.
“It is incredibly ambitious, seeking to change the commissioning of services and provision of care while also testing new care models. It will support people to live, full, active and meaningful lives. To do this we believe that we will need to change everything, from the transport systems, emergency services, shops and workplaces, and health and social care.
Dementia United and Greater Manchester Devolution will help us achieve this.”
Dementia United aims to build on existing strengths in the area to put a strong focus on improving early diagnosis and post diagnosis support, to improving hospital care and creating dementia-friendly communities. It will also aim to reduce any variation in care across Greater Manchester, as well as looking at how new technologies could be used to support people with dementia and their treatment.
Ann Johnson, from Trafford who was diagnosed with dementia aged 52, is an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador. Anne said: “As a person living with dementia I know only too well the challenges faced not only to receive a diagnosis, but to then have to continue your life as best you can with the disease.
“I believe people can live well with dementia, but the support has to be there throughout the entire journey no matter where you live.”
In total, it is estimated that the health and care system in Greater Manchester spends £270m a year treating and caring for people with dementia. By improving care and support, Dementia United aims to reduce the figure in five years’ time by 20% – mainly associated with unplanned hospital admissions and admissions to care homes.
Other early areas of work under discussion include:
- Agreeing a single governance model across Greater Manchester to reflect local and regional needs for people with dementia;
- A commissioning framework that will help to address variation in services;
- Piloting the use of case workers who can support people with dementia and their families;
- Sharing learning across the ten areas within Greater Manchester so that services can be designed together with people with dementia;
- Using technology to help with daily life for people with dementia.
George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “At the moment, dementia care across Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK is a postcode lottery for people with dementia and their carers.
“How likely you are to get a diagnosis, and how much support you will get after diagnosis varies significantly as you go from one local authority area to another. Dementia United offers a once-in-a-generation chance to change this.”
Lord Peter Smith, health lead for Greater Manchester Combined
Authority,said: “Across Greater Manchester a number of voluntary groups work alongside professionals to help cope with dementia. Dementia United will allow partner organisations to work together to harness the potential that already exists when public services, health and social care teams, and communities to deliver an ambitious set of goals like these.”
Professor Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia, said: “By demonstrating how the lives of dementia patients can be transformed in Greater Manchester, the region has the opportunity to create a blueprint for dementia care that could be replicated the length and breadth of the country.”
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Issued on behalf of NHS England, The Greater Manchester Association of Clinical Commissioning, NHS in Greater Manchester, The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, Haelo and Alzheimer’s Society