With our ambition to identify, diagnose and support more people to live well with dementia, we plan to add new dedicated staff to local teams.
The NHS in Leeds is working to improve dementia diagnosis and support for people with dementia and families after diagnosis. At the moment we know that whilst some people feel well-supported, others have been left alone to manage the diagnosis. The waiting times for services have also been very variable depending on which part of Leeds you live in.
We have specialist NHS services in Leeds, provided by doctors specialising in dementia and the Leeds Memory Service. We know that people living with dementia appreciate and value these services. However, older people with dementia need all the different NHS services to work more closely together, as many are living with other health conditions and illnesses.
Therefore, our new plan proposes that dementia diagnosis and support after diagnosis will be centred on GP practices; with the doctors specialising in dementia and the memory service coming in to run local clinics. At the moment many people travel to the specialist memory clinics for appointments.
Our ambition is to identify, diagnose, and support more people to live well with dementia. Therefore the plan is that new staff will be added to local teams. These staff roles are “support workers”, with the job to support people through diagnosis and ensure people have information and support afterward. This role has worked well elsewhere in England, and there is evidence that it has helped to reduce hospital admissions. So investing in the new staff could both improve the quality of people’s lives and, overall, pay for itself.
We are consulting further to hear the views and concerns of people living with dementia. We want to better understand any potential effect that the proposed changes might have. Then, we will adjust the plans accordingly.