Communities across the South of England are benefitting from an extra £9 million to enhance treatment, care and support for people living with dementia, their families and carers.
NHS South of England responded to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, launched in July this year, by pledging additional money to enable local GPs to commission innovations and best practice in dementia care.
The aim of the new Dementia Challenge Fund is to drive improvements further and faster, to make a real difference for people living with dementia, including their families and carers. Each bid needs to be matched by resources to demonstrate local commitment and investment, to ensure that the innovation can be sustained.
GP commissioners across the South of England have been working with local communities to ensure that the views, experiences and priorities of people with experience of dementia have been central to each application for the £9 million Challenge Fund.
Groups facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Society proposed that the funds should be used to enable people to continue to live well and be able to use local services, transport, shops, libraries, banks and other local facilities; to support communities to have a better understanding of dementia, including key NHS services; and for carers to feel better supported. Successful bids needed to reflect these themes, and demonstrate the strength of their involvement of, and engagement with people living with dementia. In the South West, ‘citizens panels’ were established to inform the selection process.
A total of 129 applications were received by the Strategic Health Authority, of which 74 have been funded. These range from start-up funding of new projects to accelerating work to make towns and cities more ‘dementia friendly’, or introducing new healthcare roles to support people with memory problems, post diagnosis support, training, improving the hospital environment, and end of life care.
Liz Redfern, CBE, Director of Nursing at NHS South of England said, ‘I am delighted with the response to the Dementia Challenge Fund.
“This opportunity generated a huge response from GP commissioners and local partners, bringing people together and prompting crucial discussions about dementia in their community today, and current and future needs.
“This funding is one part of a much larger investment in resources, time, leadership and commitment. This has been a fantastic initiative, and we are confident that it will make a real difference to dementia care and awareness across the South of England.”