Dementia (Treatment)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 6 June 2013.

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Photo of Jim Eadie Jim Eadie Scottish National Party

6. To ask the First Minister what steps the Scottish Government is taking to improve treatment for people with dementia. (S4F-01439)

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

On Monday this week, at Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia connections conference, we launched our second three-year national dementia strategy. The new strategy will further improve diagnosis rates, transform the quality of post-diagnostic support and take forward a national action plan on improving hospital care for people with dementia.

Photo of Jim Eadie Jim Eadie Scottish National Party

Does the First Minister agree that although Scotland has the best early diagnosis figures in the United Kingdom, there must continue to be a focus on improving post-diagnosis treatment, particularly in acute hospitals, so that people living with dementia and their families can have the support that they are, quite rightly, entitled to receive at what can often be a difficult time?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

Diagnosis is the key that unlocks support for people with dementia and their families. Scotland has a good record on that front, with 64 per cent of people with dementia being diagnosed up to March 2012, compared with much lower percentages elsewhere.

The dementia commitment, which has been described as a world first by Alzheimer Scotland, includes the guarantee that everyone diagnosed from 1 April this year will be entitled to a named support worker for a minimum of a year to help them and their families to understand the illness, manage its symptoms and plan for future care. The new three-year national action plan on improving care for people with dementia in hospitals was announced last month. Supporting that, Alzheimer Scotland dementia nurse consultants have been appointed to boards across Scotland and more than 300 dementia champions are now in place.

Given the nature of the subject and the fact that, I suspect, every single person in the chamber has personal awareness of people suffering from dementia, that much needed progress should be widely welcomed.

Photo of Jayne Baxter Jayne Baxter Labour

A freedom of information request has revealed that in 2011, a patient with dementia was subjected to 13 bed or ward moves during a single stay in an NHS Fife hospital. Does the First Minister agree that that is unacceptable and will he give an assurance that, under his improvements, such high levels of moves for a single patient will not happen again?

Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond First Minister of Scotland, Leader, Scottish National Party

That is unacceptable and I will certainly have the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing look into that case. On a subject such as this, when a specific example is given, I would like to be able to give the member a comprehensive reply. If the member will bring the case to the health secretary, he will certainly provide that reply. What the member described is certainly unacceptable and I hope that the changes that are being made will make the chances of such things happening again much less likely.