Dementia service gets lifeline, but seeks long-term funding
A UNIQUE service for people with young-onset dementia that was threatened with closure has been given a four-month lifeline. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has said it will provide additional funding for the service until June.
The offer comes as a petition has been launched calling on the Assembly Government to take action to provide the Oldwell Court service with continued and protected funding.
The offer for short-term funding for the service, which covers Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, was made by Paul Davies, deputy chief executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
He told the Alzheimer’s Society that the short-term funding would allow Katie Norton, the board’s director of primary, community and mental health services, to further explore funding opportunities.
In a letter to the service’s users, Dawn John, the manager of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Cardiff branch, said: “Although this is a short reprieve, it does not offer any definite long-term funding.
“I don’t think we can afford to stop the campaign pressure yet. The short-term funding offer only lasts until after the general election and after the launch of the dementia plan.”
And Jenny Randerson, AM for Cardiff Central, said: “This is a relief and gives us some breathing space to ensure that Cardiff and Vale University Health Board develop a proper plan for the service’s future.
“This is a vital service and doing away with it would have major funding implications, not just for the health service but also for social services.
“It seems totally counter-productive that it was ever in doubt that they should fund it.
“I shall be working very closely with the university health board to ensure that they give it a proper, long-term perspective.”
Mr Davies said: “Cardiff and Vale University Health Board recognises the value of the service provided by the Alzheimer’s Society for younger people with dementia in Cardiff and the Vale.
“The extension of the funding to June 2010 offers the board an opportunity to explore all of the options with our partners before any fixed decision is made over the next three months.”
The petition, which will be handed to AMs on March 3, reads: “We note the threat to funding for the early onset dementia support service at Oldwell Court and that this may be counter to objective 26 of the National Service Framework for Older People.
“We call on the National Assembly to request the relevant governmental and public bodies ensure that funding for this vital service is protected and continued.”