Publish date: 8 November 2023

The Bath, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) Integrated Care Board is supporting a major improvement plan to increase dementia diagnosis rates across these areas.

In Swindon, the local memory services provided by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) have worked hard to increase the number of diagnostic appointments they can provide.

Over the last three months, the memory clinic has doubled the amount of consultations to assess more people and reduce waiting times.

The ICB has invested a further £140k, creating new nursing roles to work specifically with care homes offering more memory assessments to residents across Swindon.

Diagnosis of dementia in care homes is recognised as a national problem and this work, scheduled to take place over the coming year, is a critical part of the overall improvement plan. 

Dave Leveridge, local Clinical Lead for Community Older People’s Services at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP), said:

“We know how challenging memory loss can be for everyone involved, and a timely diagnosis is really important to help people understand their symptoms, access essential help and make plans for the future.

“We are now seeing really positive signs resulting from the huge amount of work and additional investment in this area. The Swindon Memory Service has significantly increased its provision of diagnostic appointments over the last three months, to reduce waiting times and expedite treatment. And introducing new nursing roles will support our ambition to reach out into in care homes, ensuring all people have access to high quality memory assessments in the Swindon area.

“AWP’s Memory teams are continuously working with other organisations to improve the support we offer for people receiving a diagnosis, helping them to live well with dementia.”

Figures produced by NHS England show Swindon has one of the lowest dementia diagnosis rates in the country, leading to the development of a Dementia Diagnosis Rate (DDR) Working Group being established by BSW Integrated Care Board.

It has allocated £312k to support dementia diagnostics within Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, with £140k specifically allocated to improving rates in Swindon.