24 September 2013
Improving memory services
In 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
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
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."