Peterborough set out to ensure that during an NHS Health Check, people identified at risk of, or diagnosed with, dementia were connected with the services they required.
Estimates suggest Peterborough has over 1,000 people living with dementia in the community with only 45% of them actually having been diagnosed. National research has indicated reluctance within primary care to diagnose dementia due to a perceived lack of follow on services.
The Peterborough public health team also identified a significant gap in knowledge across health and social care professionals, regarding the potential for lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of developing dementia.
Peterborough NHS Health Check programme
Peterborough City Council used the NHS Health Check as an opportunity to raise awareness of dementia and address stigma. The NHS Health Check and its dementia component were used to support the development of broader dementia services.
A GP referral pathway from the NHS Health Check was developed for people with concerns around memory loss. This signposted to services in the area, including a new dementia resource centre developed during the project. The new dementia resource centre, which includes support from the Alzheimer’s Society as well as an NHS memory clinic, was one of the first in the area.
What was involved
A GP referral pathway from the NHS Health Check was developed for people with concerns around memory loss. This pathway signposts to dementia services in the area. Initially this was to the Alzheimer’s Society and then, from autumn 2014, to the new Dementia Resource Centre in Peterborough.
A clinical coach was also employed to support GP practices in implementing the change to the NHS Health Check.
What works well
The Council found dementia to be a natural fit for the NHS Health Check programme. It helped to increase dementia diagnosis rates, and provided a platform for discussing dementia in the same way as other long term conditions.
The NHS Health Check helped to:
- raise awareness of dementia to 1,840 people in Peterborough during 2013 to 2014, which represents 25% of the total number of health checks carried out in the area
- provide an opportunity to promote Peterborough’s investment in dementia services
- address the knowledge and skills gap among professionals
The Dementia component has now been embedded in the NHS Health Check programme in the 25 GP practices in Peterborough.
The Council and their partners found:
- the use of the clinical coach worked particularly well
- the clinical coach addressed the issue of high staff turnover by ensuring that all staff had access to the training modules on the NHS Health Checks website
- issues regarding the dementia component of the Health Check were dealt with by the clinical coach, who systematically visited all GP practices in the area
Cambridgeshire County Council has now adopted this model across their 78 GP practices. The Alzheimer’s Society and an NHS memory clinic will now be co-located in the New Dementia Resource Centre. Data collected from people signposted to the centre from NHS Health Checks will allow further feedback on the project.
If you would like more information on the Peterborough Health Checks, please contact Cheryl Mcguire firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like more information on the Peterborough Dementia Resource Centre, please contact Kevin Bowyer, Services Manager 01733 893 853, or email Peterborough@alzheimers.org.uk.