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More dementia specialist nurses needed by 2016

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The number of specialist dementia nurses must rise by at least 50 per cent by 2016, to cope with the rise in diagnosis of the condition, according to Dementia UK.

The charity has identified a number of key areas that require improvement, such as post-diagnostic care inequality, comorbidity care, a shortage of nursing skills, and the impact of culture and ethnicity. Dementia UK has suggested that by increasing the number of dementia specialist nurses – also known as Admiral nurses – from 140 to 210 by 2016, the pressures caused by these areas would be alleviated.

Hilda Hayo, chief executive of Dementia UK, said: 'The reduction in specialist dementia roles is a real concern and urgently needs addressing. We must increase the number of Admiral nurses to be able to provide an even geographical spread of specialist dementia nurses across the country, so all people receive an excellent level of dementia care and support regardless of their location.'

Dementia UK has also urged health and social care providers to address complex areas of dementia, such as comorbidity care. It is estimated that 85 per cent of people with dementia have another long-term condition. The charity has also identified a lack of post-diagnostic care as a cause for concern.

Ms Hayo added: 'The improvement of post-diagnostic dementia support can only be achieved through collaboration and working in a different way. The government, health and social services, and charities must work together, to ensure people living with the effects of dementia are able to receive the necessary specialist advice and support to enable them to live as well as possible after the diagnosis.'

Dementia UK also reported that, through preventative work, dementia specialist nurses have provided the NHS with large savings. The charity cited the example of a pilot scheme in Norfolk which saved the area's health and social care services an estimated £440,000.

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