2. What we call for
Currently, there are more people living with dementia than ever before. Indeed, figures indicate over 700,000 people are living with dementia in England alone (Alzheimer’s Society, 2015). Our view is that STPs present a unique opportunity to transform dementia care and support. We know the health and social care system must evolve towards greater co-working. Indeed, this is a change we have repeatedly called for (Alzheimer’s Society, 2015). This is because integrated health and social care will facilitate a system more capable of meeting the needs of an ageing population with complex needs (Hofmarcher et al, 2007; Oliver et al, 2014; Naylor et al, 2016) and the needs of people with dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2015; Glimmerveen, L. & Nies, H. 2015). We also know that the complexity of dementia means an integrated system working for people with dementia will be a system that works for everyone.
We call for:
- Commitment to improve dementia provision across the NHS Well Pathway. Dementia is now the leading cause of death in England (Office for National Statistics, 2016) and more people are living with dementia in England than ever before. Therefore, it is imperative that STPs improve dementia care and support across the NHS Well Pathway to sufficiently address the challenge dementia poses to the health and care system and the economy.
Engagement with leading dementia care providers. STPs can benefit from the expertise of leading dementia care and support providers such as ourselves. We believe STPs need to engage with leading dementia organisations to develop dementia-friendly plans and realistic objectives and timescales when reforming dementia services.
- Co-production and co-design with people with dementia. NHS guidance for developing STPs outlines the legal obligation and positive outcomes from co-production and co-design with the public (NHS, 2016b). Our view is that people with dementia must be involved in co-production and co-design throughout the development of STPs. This will help ensure services are dementia-friendly and deliver the best outcomes for people with dementia.
Additional funding for social care. We know that social care is chronically underfunded (LaingBuisson, 2017). Our view is that inadequate social care funding threatens the delivery and sustainability of integrated services. The interdependence of the fiscal challenge between health and social care and the significant impact this will have on the successful delivery of STPs has been noted by NHS bodies and the Local Government Association (NHS Confederation, 2016). We believe short-term funding and a long-term financial commitment from Government is needed to close the social care funding gap and facilitate the achievement and sustainability of integrated services.
- A Dementia Champion within each STP governance structure. STPs should identify a Dementia Champion as part of the STP governance structure. A Dementia Champion would support local areas to fulfill their ‘must do’s’ applicable to dementia and ensure their STP is dementia-friendly.