NAO reports on Dementia Strategy

Today, the National Audit Office published an interim report on the progress of the National Dementia Strategy which was unveiled last year. Most of the report doesn’t make kind reading for those charged with implementing the strategy as the report is critical of the progress made or rather not made.

Many of the promises made at the time have drifted away in the face of a climate of public sector spending cuts and even the most basic training has not been provided.

As the summary of the report continues, the demand for care home places is expected to grow and one wonders how much thought the government and shadow cabinet have put into their adult care policies on the basis that both main political parties seem to be banking on saving money in residential placements by keeping people at home for longer.

The indepedent care sector which provides much of the care – both home care and residential/nursing care feels excluded from the policies proposed, possibly because the focus on finances is more evident and time and money spent on training is not reflected in fees paid by local authorities.

Mr Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, said today:

“The Department of Health stated in October 2007 that dementia was a national priority and brought forward a widely supported strategy in February 2009 to transform the lives of people with dementia. The action however, has not so far matched the rhetoric in terms of urgency. At the moment this strategy lacks the mechanisms needed to bring about large scale improvements and without these mechanisms it is unlikely that the intended and much needed transformation of services will be delivered within the strategy’s five year timeframe.”

I  haven’t had time to read the report in full but hope to have some time to look over it over the weekend at the very least.

We have made some changes in our services, not least setting up a separate ‘memory service’ but the difficulty remains that if services are expected to improve, the money which is so short at the moment, really needs to follow it. The government can talk the talk about priorities but if, at the same time, they are talking about making ‘zero-cost’ changes, it is unlikely there will be many real improvements.

4 thoughts on “NAO reports on Dementia Strategy

  1. They need to get a move on. The National Register predicts that our over-65 population is set to increase by 40% by 2031, so we need to arrange our medical services (and dementia services) accordingly.

  2. Hi cb and hope you are well.
    Just thought I’d nosey on in and see what you’re talking about, since haven’t read many blogs in ages.

    Do you think the voluntary sector can play a part in the provision of dementia care – obviously with proper training implemented ? Not sure whether it’s a daft question or not, but I just wondered.


    Sis x

  3. Interesting comment gabbyjulie, it reflects the actual probelm perfectly.

    Dementia is separated form medical services, bracketed, as you ahve done, as something separate.

    Dementia is a medical problem, not a social problem, it should never have been transferred to social services, is it a major long term disabling disease / illness /infirmity, it is not a MENTAL DISORDER, it is an organic, degenerative brain disease, which cannot be cured & rarely can be treated with any effect, causing mental disorder like symptoms, but cannot be treated with conventional mental disorder treatments.

    People with dementia, cannot be rehabilitated, cannot be encouraged to be independent at most stages, cannot be re-anabled, all the sole purpose of social work.

    Goodness knows what catastrophes are awaiting when telehealth/care / keeping people in their home care gets off the ground, mananged and delivered of course by the uncaring, profiteers of the private sector, who cares!!.

    The only thing that needs to be recogmised & put in place NOW is that dementia is a health problem, A Primary Health Need, pure and simple, NOT social responsibility in any way shape or form.

    Then, devise a strategy where a charity/non profit making organisation like the Altzheimers Society, for instance, controls everything concerned with this area, including specialist homes.

    Anyone working in this special care division, not national care service NCS, maybe Dementia Need Health Service DNHS, will be a specialist, a professional, and rewarded accordingly with the correct renumeration for the professional training that will be required.

    Is this utopia? to require that people with the disease, either living at home or in care must be treated with compassion, dignity and total professionalism not like cattle as happens now, possibly cattle are treated better, and the service will be fully funded continuing healthcare, totally funded through the NHS budget.

    Money is there, they can redistribute the pay of all of the assessors paid to deny the service to date.

    the service will be totally separated from learning difficulties, mental health, childrens services and any other palliative careservice for other diseases, hospice type care or respite care for other diseases, where activities of daily living, the social care backbone phrase depicting personal care and simple tasks to enable daily living, can be carried out by the person themselves, therefore defining social care and possible means testing.
    Therefore possibly not fully funded continuing health care as the NEED may not be primarily health, as the coughlan judge stated, he said nothing about primary health need, which is merely the secretary of state’s personal concept phrase.

  4. Thanks for the feedback – and good to see you back, Sis!
    There is absolutely a massive amount of work to be done and it is crucial and fundamental that the focus is not lost on dementia care – and that’s my big worry.

Comments are closed.