Cuts proposed to dementia service

Concerns that changes to dementia services could impact patients, families, care homes and GPs have been raised by an NHS worker.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust is proposing changes to services for people with dementia, which will involve cuts in budgets.

The trust is facing a £200,000 cut in its older people mental health contract this year, with a further £150,000 to be removed next year.

In a document seen by the Daventry Express, the trust says its current model sees inefficiencies with patients referred from one NHS team to another, and care homes which employ their own registered mental health nurses using the NHS teams as an emergency service.

The proposal involves merging the NHS’s memory assessment and long term teams, care homes having to do more themselves, and moving the monitoring of some patients with ‘mild needs’ to GPs.

The trust says these steps will free up capacity for mental health services to deal with more complex cases and move from a medical model to a more ‘holistic’ one.

Labour councillor Wendy Randall said: “I have big concerns that they are making these cuts but not consulting with the public. Are families looking after people with dementia going to be asked to do more? Will the reduction in high band nurses mean GPs are expected to pick up more patients? Even now people complain they can’t get appointments, so will we end up with more people in A&E or family carers suffering stress and depression? Is that cost effective?”

Some staff are concerned at the changes saying they could have an impact on vulnerable patients and families.

One spoke to the Daventry Express anonymously, saying: “I believe the public should be aware of these proposed cuts, however the trust has not included patients, carers, or the public in the consultation process. GPs on whom the burden will fall to fill the gaps are not aware of these proposals and the impacts they will have on their workloads.

“I have worked as a senior clinicians for over 20 years and am very concerned about the impact these cuts will have on a particularly vulnerable group who have no voice.”