Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
Lynne Neagle has written to the Health Minister, responding to the Together for Mental Health consultation, to press calls for a national dementia strategy for Wales. Lynne Neagle first backed Alzheimers Society calls for a strategy whilst leading a short debate back in January.
Dementia is a key priority area for the new Together for Mental Health 2016-19 Delivery Plan, who’s overarching goal is to create a Dementia Friendly Nation. Torfaen is the second place in Wales to receive Dementia Friendly Community status, and Lynne emphasised the hard work on the ground thanks to local stakeholders.
Support in Wales has so far has been positive – from government funding to support services to signing the Glasgow declaration.
This consultation compliments Lynne’s short debate in that it opens up scrutiny for a plan that is robust, fully resourced and has clear lines of accountability. Lynne’s response outlined some of the strands a national strategy needed, setting them in context within the draft consultation.
Lynne talked about dementia as the health challenge of our time. Studies show it overtaking cancer as the most UK’s feared illness, already affecting 44,000 people and their families across Wales.
In her letter to the Minister, Lynne Neagle said:
“I feel incredibly passionate about a Dementia Friendly Nation Initiative, having been closely involved locally where Torfaen is leading the way. I’ve asked for further detail and challenging targets to increase the number of dementia friends and champions.
Diagnosis rates open the door to services and support thereafter. I recognise the 50% target for GP dementia registers and the stepping stone this provides to grow to 75%. It is however lower than accepted when compared to diseases like cancer.
Key support workers are a pillar of dementia services. Currently only 39% of patients in Wales get a named support worker, so I’m really pleased that the consultation identifies the need to improve this. Without support afterwards, a diagnosis only makes it harder to cope; I’d like to see the projected numbers strengthened along the lines suggested by the Alzheimers Society.
Having visited Nevill Hall earlier this year to see dementia services on offer, I’m pleased that staff and management are well on their way to exceeding training targets. Given the flying start locally and that some Dementia Friends training is only an hour long, I would like to see national targets pitched higher within the strategy.
Increased costs are an unavoidable consequence of any plan fit for purpose. These should be offset by the £1.4bn a year dementia costs the Welsh NHS. We spend £30,000 a year on treatment and support – more per head than cancer or heart disease, so we need a strategy that is proportionate to its economic and social impact.”
Lynne also highlighted the excellent joined up working in Wales between health and social care professionals, where social services has been boosted by £21m in the 2016-17 budget.
Support for carers is an equally essential area, where Lynne called for work together with Carers Wales.
The consultation has now closed [4th April 2016] and the proposed 2016-19 delivery plan is the second of three plan’s which will support the strategy.