More dementia care needed, warns geriatrics prof

More dementia care needed, warns geriatrics prof

The system for looking after patients with dementia is in danger of grinding to a halt, according to Professor Anthony Bayer, who recently ran an audit of NHS memory services in Wales. 

Speaking in an interview with BBC Wales, Professor Bayer suggested that while the Welsh government is attempting to help patients, more needs to be done. 

"There are endless taskforces and steering groups and visions, but perhaps turning that into action for the 45,000 people with dementia and their relatives in Wales is so far lagging a bit behind," he said. 

He went on to suggest that part of the problem was the inconsistency of care, with some areas receiving good services, while others nearby suffer with little or no help. 

The audit revealed that memory clinics in England are spending double the amount on staff compared to Wales. Health minister Mark Drakeford has suggested a "national approach" to dementia care may be the answer. 

Mr Drakeford warned there are limited funds to fix the problem because budgets are not increasing in line with rising demand. 

The audit hinted at the scale of the problem, as it showed that one-quarter of patients in hospital beds across Wales suffer from dementia and other related conditions. 

Professor Bayer went on to state that responsibility for care of those affected must be taken by everyone who works in a clinical environment, from doctors and nurses, to GPs and receptionists. 

A recent report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) predicted there will be 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK by 2015. 

The charity estimates this will rise to over one million by 2025 and by more than two million by 2051 unless action is taken. 

In the study, the CQC found that the majority of the 400,000 people who live in a care home have dementia or a similar condition. It also found that nearly half (40 per cent) of all those aged 65 and over currently in hospital have the impairment.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.