Keeping Dementia Care at the Forefront

Keeping Dementia Care at the Forefront

  • 25 April 2017
  • Posted in: Healthcare

Keeping dementia care front and centre is a challenge as Clinical Commissioning Groups and Sustainability and Transformation Plans currently have so many competing areas of focus in the system, Professor Alistair Burns CBE told the audience at “Dementia: Implementing Better Care”. He stressed that it was crucial to change the perception of people with dementia and to ensure dementia remains fresh in health leader’s minds.



In an informative and entertaining talk the National Clinical Director for Dementia at NHS England shared positive progress with diagnosis rates over the last ten years and a rise in prescription of anti-dementia drugs. The Dementia Friends project has also had a huge impact in helping the concerns of people living with dementia, with some 44% of people saying they did not want to be a burden on support networks. Professor Burns welcomed these improvements but also stressed that ultimately it was what people living with dementia thought of their care that was important.

“It will be the lived experience of people that we will be judged on,” Professor Alistair Burns CBE, National Clinical Director for Dementia, NHS England

Professor Burns shared some of the future challenges ahead and these included improving access to talking treatments such as IAPTs, delegates learning that older people responded better to these treatments. He said dementia is stressful not just to the people but also carers and their families.

Dr Charles Alessi, Senior Advisor and Lead for Dementia at Public Health England shared progress on the Dementia Intelligence Network that connects information and allows care providers to easily access metrics for dementia prevalence, future projections and to compare the care of local areas.

“Healthcare is on cusp of some significant changes, there is an increasing emphasis on individuals taking care of themselves.” Dr Charles Alessi, Senior Advisor and Lead for Dementia at Public Health England

Alessi explained how the Network was supporting the dementia national strategy objectives and, with indicators on prevalence and diagnostics, helping to ensure that local services are aligned to the needs of local areas. Alessi stressed that social isolation was a significant issue that has been ignored for too long and that more indicators needed to be developed for black and ethnic minority groups.

“We need to support risk reduction in dementia. We need to make the argument for investment. Dementia is a significant burden but creating a return on investment for interventions is a challenge.” Dr Charles Alessi, Senior Advisor and Lead for Dementia at Public Health England

Head of Inspections at Care Quality Commission Robert Tovey shared his personal experiences of finding residential care for a relative living with dementia and problems with acute and social care teams communicating effectively.

“It was about quality of care, quality of partnerships – quality matters.” Robert Tovey, Head of Inspections at Care Quality Commission

Tovey told the audience what really mattered was the person’s experience of the care they receive and asked how services might try to better capture the voice of people living with dementia. He said the CQC’s role was to not just regulate but encourage services to improve and reduce the variations that exist in the quality of care.

Dr Helen Rostill, Director of Innovation and Development, presented on the innovation test bed developed at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS FT. She told the audience that this project has focused on dementia firstly to help individuals overcome the personal challenges and to help mitigate some of the impacts that dementia has on their lives. Rostill said that secondly the project aimed to reduce complexity of diagnosis and care, showing the potential of technology to help and reduce system workloads. And the last and decisive aim was to help reduce demand, with a growing elderly population Rostill explained that 20% of citizens were frequent users of the service just in Surrey.

“The aim of the TIHM for dementia is to give people confidence to remain in their own homes for longer, through technology.” Dr Helen Rostill, Director of Innovation and Development, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS FT.

Collaboration across sectors is essential to implement this pilot across the country and Rostill explained how technology can help care professionals to work differently and deploy resources in a more responsive way. Such improvements were found to provide immediate insights into patient need and allow care to be appropriately managed more promptly and effectively.

Michael Hurt, NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group and Walsall Council, and Davina Lytton, Age UK Walsall, presented an example of collaborative project between the voluntary and third sector.

“With a growing population and limited funding, the way to address this is by getting the voluntary sector to skill up and work more closely with the hospitals and community. As we have, commissioning services to work alongside the NHS.” Michael Hurt, Head of Older People and Dementia, NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group and Social Care and Inclusion, Walsall Council, Chair of the conference, and Davina Lytton, Chief Officer, Age UK Walsall


Professor Maxine Power, Chief Executive of Haelo, Salford’s Innovation and Improvement Science Centre, presented the opportunities that Greater Manchester has to transform care as part of the Devolution Agenda. Dementia United has been developed around eight principles designed by people, not organisations. All of principles are aligned to one goal which is to transform Manchester into the best place to live if you have dementia.


That concept summarises the aim for what every speaker and organisation involved at “Dementia: Implementing Better Care” is working towards. To make England a place where people with dementia can get the support they need every day of the year, whether that be at home, in residential care, hospital or in the wider community.


  • dementia friendly
  • Dementia Friends
  • dementia pathway
  • Dementia UK
  • Dementia United
  • diagnosing dementia
  • Challenge on Dementia
  • Challenge on Dementia 2020
  • Dementia Friendly Communities Programme
  • Dementia Friends Initiative
  • dementia national strategy
  • Dementia Sense CIC
  • TIHM for dementia
  • Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia 2020