New support for commissioning dementia services

A new resource to support clinical commissioning groups in designing and purchasing high quality dementia services was launched today by Care Services Minister Paul Burstow.

The dementia commissioning pack provides a set of tools and templates for health and local authority commissioners, helping them to design services that are suited to local needs and are cost effective.

It supports planning across the whole spectrum of dementia, from early diagnosis to end of life care, together with guidance on how to reduce the inappropriate use of antipsychotic medication.

The pack has been developed in consultation with a range of health and social care experts, including people with dementia and their carers. It aims to:

Improve quality of services for people with dementia by placing patient outcomes and patient choice at the heart of the commissioning process;Drive efficiency by reducing unwarranted variation in services;Reduce bureaucracy for commissioners by providing tailored documents and templates, bringing together the different aspects of commissioning (clinical, financial, commercial, contractual and procurement).

Paul Burstow said:

“With early diagnosis and good care, people with dementia can continue to live well for many years. But for this to happen, it is vital that services are designed and delivered to meet the needs of individuals and their local communities.

“This is why we want to devolve power to clinicians and patients but we also recognise that local commissioners need to be supported with expert tools and advice.

“The Dementia Commissioning Pack will save valuable time. It will help clinical commissioning groups avoid reinventing the wheel each time they provide a new service, will give patients the best outcomes and use money effectively.”

The pack provides detailed specifications and other material for local commissioners to use, thereby reducing bureaucracy and enabling commissioners to spend more time focusing on matters that will make the most difference to patients, rather than process or bureaucracy.

National Clinical Director for Dementia, Professor Alistair Burns said:

“This is a key resource which will enhance the commissioning of dementia services, and ultimately lead to improved outcomes for people living with dementia and their carers and families.

“Most importantly, it has been co-produced with clinicians and reflects the perspectives and expertise of a wide group of stakeholders, including people with dementia.”

Sir Ian Carruthers, OBE, Chief Executive NHS South West, and dementia champion for the NHS said:

“Dementia is one of the greatest challenges society faces today, and it is essential that we get commissioning right so that people can live well in their community, and access more support when they need it.

“Strategic Health Authorities across England have signed up to this work, ensuring that this important resource is made available to clinical commissioning groups so that we achieve real improvements in quality and productivity.”

Alongside the Dementia Commissioning Pack, the Alzheimer’s Society has produced a series of patient information leaflets to make patients aware of what they should expect from good dementia services.

Andrew Chidgey, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Alzheimer’s Society said:

“It is incredibly important that dementia care is prioritised on a local level. People with dementia and their carers need access to the right local support services to meet their needs. We hope this new tool will help ensure that happens.

“The National Audit Office and All Party Group on Dementia have both identified that only offering care and support for people with dementia at crisis point is far too late. Millions of pounds are wasted on poor quality care when earlier intervention would save money in the long-term. By investing well in the right services across a wide range of sectors, good quality commissioning will improve the lives of people with dementia and bring long term savings across the health and social care sectors.”