This report summarises the findings from a series of visits carried out by NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia
The visits were to a number of memory services which were experiencing longer waiting times from referral to assessment. The audit found that there had been significant successes in a number of clinics in improving access times over the past year, often in challenging circumstances.
Common features of the services which were reducing waiting times were:
- Reviewing the assessment pathway and reconfiguring workforce to match demand. Some achieved this through upskilling existing staff, using vacancy funding creatively or investing in new staff.
- Developing joint clinical protocols for referral and diagnosis, follow-up care, access to and reporting of scans and care home management
- Supporting memory services in primary care 3,4.
Based on the findings the top ten tips to service improvement are:
- Involve service users and carers at every step
- Understand current and future demand and map against available capacity
- Review referral protocols
- Review brain scan (CT/MRI) protocols
- Examine DNA rates
- Ensure correspondence clearly states diagnosis and accompanying ‘Read Codes’
- Identify education and training opportunities
- Consider protocol for diagnosis in primary care including care homes
- Review with commissioners the role of specialist nurses
- Become MSNAP accredited and share best practice examples
Read the full report here