12 June 2017
145 GP surgeries across the Wessex area are now ‘dementia friendly’ – in a move aimed to help improve services offered to patients and their carers.
Tackling dementia is a priority for the nine NHS GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which buy most health services for more than three million people in Wessex.
Exceeding the 100 surgery milestone means that well over 50% of GP surgeries across Hampshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight and south Wiltshire are involved in the iSPACE initiative, which is spearheaded by Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).
Benefits include improved experience for patients and their carers and staff being better equipped to deliver high quality dementia care.
12 further surgeries have started a process which involves and includes staff training, patient and carer engagement, links to the voluntary sector in the locality, an environmental audit, dementia-focussed care planning, and completion of tools to support the person with dementia and their carer.
A recent evaluation by Wessex AHSN found:
There are over 300 GP surgeries across Wessex, and now, well over 50% of the surgeries are engaged in this project – and are either finished or on the way to becoming, dementia friendly.
One of the practice groups in the area to recently complete – and included the one hundredth surgery to do so – was the Portsdown Group in Portsmouth.
The group's operations manager, Carly Darwin, said: “I am proud and delighted that Portsdown Group Practice has been accredited as a dementia friendly Primary Care Provider.
“Our staff really engaged with the process, particularly the Dementia Champions that have volunteered to represent each site, and we have all found the process very enlightening.
“Many of our staff have family or friends who have been affected by dementia, and so it really is a topic close to our hearts. We are aware of the number of patients currently living with dementia in the UK today, and we hope we are now able to enhance the patient and carers experience of accessing our services, to build better relationships and improve the quality of the services we provide.”
Katherine Barbour, iSPACE programme manager, said: “Even though surgeries are under increasing pressure to deliver more in the same envelope of funding the staff across Wessex have embraced this project with an enthusiasm and energy that has been stunning.
“iSPACE has brought staff, patients, carers, voluntary sector, community staff and Patient participation groups together to address one of the biggest issues we currently face.”
A carer at a recent focus group commented on the increase in consultation time “Twenty minutes – double the time. The doctor did it automatically – she looked up his medication – blood pressure and Alzheimer’s. She spoke to him about how he felt about it – she incorporated him into the conversation and respected him. I can’t knock anything from the surgery – they’ve always been brilliant.”
Photo caption (L-R): Lisa Gosling, Dr Liz Shepherd, Dr Ola Babatolu, Carly Darwin and Helen Pinhorne (Dementia Champion).