Cameron Announces Dementia Champions

  • David Cameron announces an improvement in hospital care, especially for dementia patients.

    Waiting RoomAs part of the care quality measures, dementia champions will be installed on every NHS ward, and there will be a dementia nursing expert in each NHS organisation.

    Under measures announced by Mr Cameron to improve the standards of care in hospitals, all nurses will have to do hourly rounds of their patients.

    He is also saying that as one in four patients suffer with dementia, every worker in the Health Service will have to receive specialist training in dealing with the illness.

    The government will ensure that every NHS ward will have a ‘dementia champion' and every NHS organisation a dementia nursing expert.

    As part of the changes to improve the quality of care, there will be a ‘friends and family test' introduced, . This is where they will ask the staff, including GP surgeries, district nursing and community hospitals, if they would be happy for their friend of relative to be admitted to the hospital.

    Mr Cameron said:

    We have an excellent health service, we have very high standards in nursing care in most of our hospitals.

    But recent examples - Stafford, Redditch and others - show we have got a problem in some places.

    [The test] can act as a flashing light, if the numbers start to dip down you see a problem and then you know you need to do an investigation. The test will highlight where 'there is a basic standard of dignity, cleanliness and respect.

    The Alzheimer's Society said:

    People with dementia occupy a quarter of hospital beds yet many are not receiving the care they deserve.

    Having a dementia champion on each ward and giving access to online training to all staff could be a way of driving up standards. 800,000 people in the UK have dementia.

    We agree that improving hospital care for people with dementia must remain a priority, but the big issue will be whether these laudable aspirations become a reality without specific funding. For those with the condition the proof will be in the pudding.

    There is also plan to improve dementia diagnosis rates by asking anyone over the age of 75 about their memory on any unrelated visit to the doctors.

    GPs will be paid for asking questions about patients' memories with anyone who admits to having problems being offered a screening test to see if they are at risk.

    The Prime Minister wants older people to be checked when they visit the doctor for any reason, but many GPs fear patients will be put off visiting the doctors, even when suffering potentially serious health problems, because they will not want to be diagnosed with the disease.

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