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Primary care dementia projects win at NHS Awards

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A GP and nurse led dementia initiative in Staffordshire, won £80,000 last night for the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia.

The Memory First project has seen dementia diagnosis times reduced from two and a half years to just four weeks, with patient satisfaction rates of 100 per cent.

The initiative , led by a group of 162 GPs in 41 practices in Staffordshire, provides integrated care by bringing consultant-led clinics into the community and bringing together social care services and charity/end of life support.

Dr Ian Greaves, who led the development of the service said, that the programme could not run without the elderly care facilitators. ‘Nurses were key to helping this project run. We utilise retired social workers and nurses as elderly care facilitators to act as companions and coordinate access to the services.'

The use of consultant clinics in the community has saved in excess of £120,000 of clinical time.

The team is currently working with Brunel University and the London School of Economics to map and establish a national model for the UK.

Dr Greaves said: ‘Shropshire, Worcester, Barnet and Cheshire have all approached me this month to see if they can adapt the services for their areas.'

Two other dementia projects were also acknowledged and received £35,000.

The Early Intervention Dementia Service (EIDS) in Worcestershire, has helped over 2,000 people receive a timely assessment and adapt to hearing the dementia diagnosis.

Dr Bernie Coope, from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, who led the service highlighted that the majority of the work comes from their nurses. ‘A nurse and myself will diagnose the patient with dementia or Alzheimer's. That same nurse will then stay with the patients and their families for three months and support them through that time. It is mostly the nurses that handle the work.'

Tanya Jacobs, one of the nurses from the service, says that the service allows nurses to support the patient to adjust to life after the diagnosis and help them prepare for the future.

The Greenwich Advanced Dementia Service (GADS) helps people to remain in their own homes for longer, also received £35,000 for the project.

It brings together a range of elder care professionals to provide a community-based support for people with dementia and their families.

Sir Bruce Keogh, who presented the awards to the winners, highlighted the importance of innovation on a local level that can then be scaled up to be carried on nationally. ‘While the NHS is under financial stress, innovation is a great thing to do. Innovation has to be local, because its local people who know local needs. The solution to problems lies in the intellectual capital of the 1.4 million people who work in the NHS, not with the politicians or bureaucrats.'

‘Nurses are key to implementing these projects and are really trusted NHS workers,' he added.

The Dementia Prize was set up to identify and reward innovative approaches for Dementia. It was part of the wider NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes programme and the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge.

For a full list of winners and more information visit: www.england.nhs.uk/challengeprizes

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