Government suggests need for new National Dementia Strategy for England

This week in Parliament, Conservative MP Alec Shelbrooke tabled a debate on improving dementia care and services in the UK.

During the debate, Norman Lamb MP, Minister for Care Services, signalled that momentum from the National Dementia Strategy for England must be sustained beyond 2014. When referring to the end of the strategy he said:
'It is absolutely clear – that something must follow; there must be a continuation.'

As a person with dementia who worked on this National Dementia Strategy, alongside many other people, I confess that I am  a little staggered to see many things we agreed on, simply not happening at all. It took a long time to get this organised and launched, and we all thought that was the hard part, but I think many were proved wrong.

The PCTs were simply not ready or in agreement for this simply because it was not mandatory in the first place. Some made many changes while others lagged behind, but now we need them all on board for the benefit of all who have dementia.

If we have a National Strategy then please make it mandatory, so that it happens in all corners of England and not just where it suits

Its my own personal view that while the National Dementia Strategy is a wonderful thing, it did not go far enough, and many things were left open rather than making them mandatory.

We are still seeing people with dementia being badly treated and abused, in places like care homes, simply because their staff are unskilled in dementia care, and the care home owners refuse to train their staff because it costs them money and time.

This is very wrong as care home places cost a lot of money in the first place, but it proves that the standard of care is not going up with the costs.

I get annoyed when I hear these care home managers and owners, say that they can not afford to train their staff, because to me its their right to do the training, and they should not be licenced as care homes, if their staff are not trained properly, and their operators licence should be revoked.

These people who abuse people with dementia are nothing short of criminals, and should be treated as criminals, because they are abusing those who cannot fight back or in many cases help themselves.

I also feel that the money for the strategy was not ring fenced, which allowed many around the country to use it for other projects, something which was fundamentally wrong. If you put money into a project then it should be ring fenced to protect its misuse.

General training also need to be ramped up so that its mandatory in all PCTs and doctors surgeries etc

We are now seeing Nurses being trained in universities in how to cope with people who have dementia, but PCTs are not enforcing this, simply because it costs money, and this should be enforced around the country so that the same care is received in all areas of the NHS and the private care system.

When this happens we may well get somewhere.

But I do hope that this government carries on with the Strategy and makes it run for another 5 or so years, so that dementia care reaches the right standards around all of England not just certain sections

Its up to us all to make it happen, by forcing the Members of Parliament  to listen to our concerns  where dementia is concerned.

Go out and tell your local MP now, we must keep the strategy going for another 5 plus years and then we will see some wonderful changes.



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