Your dementia friendly doctor will see you now

Bury has become the first borough in the country to back a drive to make all of their doctor’s practices dementia-friendly places.

Spurred on by the views of patients and their families, NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has awarded Making Space a grant to up-skill surgery staff in everything from contacting dementia patients on the day of their appointment to allowing carers to sit in on consultations with GPs.

Receptionists may also revert to calling out the names of patients to see the doctor – as dementia patients sometimes have difficulties reading electronic screens.

Rachel Yates, Dementia Development Coordinator at Making Space said: “This programme came about in response to feedback from a woman who had been caring for a mother and father with dementia. What makes it unique is that it will train staff to understand dementia more and get them to look at whether their practice environment, including signage, is dementia friendly. No project in the UK has ever combined those elements before.”

Making Space is one of five voluntary sector organisations to be awarded a share of a £100,000 pot to help improve mental health wellbeing in Bury. The other successful recipients are:

  • The Asian Development Association of Bury’s ‘One Community, One Bury’ initiative which focuses on raising awareness of mental health problems and dementia amongst BME (Black Minority Ethnic) groups
  • Groundwork Bury – who will help jobseekers with mental health issues to get back on track and into work
  • Streetwise 2000 Young Persons’ Service’s Wise Up scheme focusing on young peoples’ services and,
  • Turning Point – who offer people with mental health issues individual placement and support opportunities to get into work

Chosen by a panel of CCG clinicians and officers, council representatives and a member of the local NHS Patient Cabinet, the successful projects will run until May 2016 and will undergo a full evaluation.

Dr Kiran Patel, Chair and Clinical lead for NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We were encouraged by the excellent and imaginative bids put before us and we will examine carefully how they work in practice over the next few months. Innovations in mental health will benefit Bury immensely, not just by improving mental health wellbeing but also by impacting on the physical problems issues such as anxiety they can lead to. I am particularly pleased that so many of the projects examined dementia. Everyone from banks to supermarkets has begun to embrace initiatives such as Dementia Friends and now surgeries can play their part in turning Bury into one of the most dementia friendly communities in Britain.”

If you would like to find out more about this new initiative and other dementia projects Making Space is involved with, please contact Rachel Yates by email or by calling 07738 148 284.