Awards finalist service ‘puts people with dementia first’

Cllr Carl MaynardA PIONEERING service which helps people with dementia get the support they need and eases pressure on the NHS has been recognised in a national awards scheme.

The Primary Care Service, running in Bexhill, Hastings & St Leonards and Seaford, was a finalist in the innovation for dementia services category in the National Dementia Care Awards.

The scheme sees community support workers from East Sussex County Council working directly with GPs to offer help and support to people with dementia and their carers.

It has helped people with dementia and their carers get better access to services in the community and keep up with their medications while reducing the number of missed medical appointments and unnecessary hospital admissions and GP home visits.

The service is a pilot project running as part of Healthy Hastings and Rother, a scheme set up by NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to tackle health inequalities in the area.

Cllr Carl Maynard, county council lead member for adult social care and health, said: “The nature of their condition means people with dementia may find it hard to keep up with appointments and access services which could benefit them.

“This nomination is a richly-deserved accolade for a project which aims to put people with dementia first and ensure they, and their carers, get all the help they need to manage their condition.”

As well as helping people with dementia directly, including accompanying them on GP visits and liaising with pharmacies to ensure they keep up with their medication, community support workers direct them to services in the social care or voluntary sectors.

The project also offers tailored individual support to help people caring for someone with dementia better cope with the demands of their role.

It is hoped the project, which initially ran as a 12-month pilot and has now been extended for a further two years, can be extended to other areas of the county.

Dr Susan Rae, GP at Silver Springs Surgery, St Leonards and NHS Hastings and Rother CCG’s clinical lead for health inequalities, said: “At a time of increased demand for NHS services, this project has had played an important role in reducing the burden on GPs and hospitals and ensuring fewer valuable appointments are missed.

“By bridging the gap between health and social care, the scheme is doing a fantastic job of supporting people with dementia to live full and rewarding lives in their own homes.”

The National Dementia Care Awards is an annual event organised by the Journal of Dementia Care.

The Primary Care Service forms part of the health and social care transformation programme East Sussex Better Together and is part of Connecting4You in the west of the county.