24 September 2013

Improving memory services

Alzheimer's monthIn March 2013, the North Wiltshire Memory Service had a waiting list of 207 people with the longest wait of over 11 months! The team were aware that the public, worried relatives and GPs were losing faith in their service and although the work they were doing with service users was highly valued, they knew the waiting list was growing every day.

However in just six months, with additional investment in staffing from the CGC and adopting a new way of working, the waiting list has been cleared and all reviews are up to date! 

The new approach has involved an extensive training programme to enable GPs to assess and diagnose straight forward Alzheimer's dementia and to start drug treatment.

Each surgery has been allocated their own named memory nurse to support GPs in making a diagnosis or to transfer people with more complex problems into the specialist service. Surgeries also have an Alzheimer's Link worker who can signpost clients and relatives to other support services.

South Wiltshire and Bristol memory teams adopted this 'shared care model' in 2012 and their waiting times now meet the Trust wide target of within four weeks of referral for assessment and 13 weeks of referral for treatment. The scheme is now being rolled out successfully in South Gloucestershire.

The changes have gone down well with patients and we have received many positive comments.

Julie Warner operational services manager says "This has been the result of our teams' dedication, hard work and a willingness to change established ways of working. We are delighted at the progress we have been able to make in partnership with our primary care colleagues and commissioners."

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