Department of Health written question – answered on 18th June 2015.

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Photo of David Simpson David Simpson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to support dementia patients and their families.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Dementia is an important priority for this Government across England and we are committed to ensuring people with dementia and their families receive the best possible support in all settings. That is why in February 2015, the Prime Minister launched his Challenge on Dementia 2020 as a successor to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2012-2015.

The 2020 Challenge aims to identify what needs to be done to make sure that dementia care, support, awareness and research are transformed by 2020 and sets key aspirations aimed at improving support which include:

- In every part of the country people with dementia having equal access to diagnosis as for other conditions, with an expectation that the national average for an initial assessment should be six weeks following a referral from a general practitioner (where clinically appropriate), and that no one should be waiting several months for an initial assessment of dementia.

- Every person diagnosed with dementia having meaningful care following their diagnosis, which supports them and those around them, with meaningful care being in accordance with published National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Quality Standards.

- Information on what post-diagnosis services are available locally and how these can be accessed, through for example an annual ‘information prescription’.

- Access to relevant advice and support to help and advice on what happens after a diagnosis and the support available through the journey.

- Carers of people with dementia being made aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.

- All NHS staff having received training on dementia appropriate to their role.

- All hospitals and care homes meeting agreed criteria to becoming a dementia friendly health and care setting.

These aspirations build on the progress already made since the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2012-2015, including improvements in timely diagnosis and the creation of over 1 million Dementia Friends in England.

On 1 April 2015, we put in place a new Dementia Directed Enhanced Service (to reward practices for facilitating timely diagnosis and support for people with dementia. It also includes an offer of a health check for carers and signposting to relevant information, advice and support.

In the hospital setting, through the Dementia Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) reward, with over 4,200 referrals a month, it is clear that more people with dementia in hospitals are being identified and assessed. Between April 2013 and April 2015 there have been 101,402 referrals as a result of the introduction of this CQUIN goal.

In April 2015, councils and clinical commissioning groups began pooling local budgets in line with their Better Care Fund plans. Some areas have chosen to measure their progress in the provision of integrated care by the improving the diagnosis rate for people with dementia and it is expected that this will be linked to improved care and support for people with dementia through the provision of such services as dementia advisors, reminiscence services and counselling.

The Dementia Roadmap can be accessed by families and carers. It is a web based platform that provides high quality information about the dementia journey alongside local information about services, support groups and care pathways, primarily to assist primary care staff to more effectively support people with dementia, their families and carers.

On March 2015, the Government published its mandate to Health Education England (HEE). It set the ambition that HEE will have ensured that over 350,000 NHS staff have received Tier 1 dementia training and are continuing to roll out the training across the existing NHS workforce. Moreover, HEE will ensure that the Tier 1 tools and training opportunities are available to all staff by the end of 2018.

Currently, 515,967 of our NHS staff have received Tier 1 training, exceeding the 350,000 ambition, and over 100,000 social care workers have received some form of dementia awareness training.

From 1 April 2015, newly appointed healthcare assistants and social care support workers, including those providing care and support to people with dementia and their carers, will be expected to undertake the Care Certificate within their first 12 weeks of employment, by undertaking learning and demonstrating their competence in 15 Care Certificate Standards.

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