Carers angry as funding is axed for dementia care in Flintshire

CARERS and campaigners are angry and disappointed by a decision to axe funding for a dementia care service in Flintshire.

The Admiral Nursing Service (ANS), which ran for three years, has closed after the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board pulled its support this month.

Carers have fought for its survival after it emerged earlier this spring that the new health board was thinking of cutting the service rather than making it a “mainstream” priority.

The service employed two nurses and part time admin staff helping 36 carers.

Sheila Johnson, 70, from Holywell, is a carer for her husband Bernard and depended on the service. She said: “They shouldn’t put a service like this in just to take it away. I’d come to rely on it and now I just feel left in limbo.

“It has been much harder since the service closed a couple of weeks ago and I miss the nurse, Carol Mortimer, so much.

“I could just ring her, anytime, with whatever problem I had and she would always tell me what I should do or sort it out.”

Ted McGuinness, of Dementia UK, the charity which owns the service, said: “I believe the decision has been made purely on a financial basis. In short we were unable to reach a negotiated settlement once the health board had taken the decision to reduce the funding by 60%.”

He said the new board offered a reduced package but he felt it was inappropriate and turned it down.

Welsh Conservative AM Mark Isherwood, who fought for the service, said: “I fully understand that funding is tight and that our new local health board is having to review all of its service delivery.

“However, surely the failure to support a service which meets the needs of carers and families of people with dementia is a false economy.”

The cut comes as a blow to the area as Flintshire council social services has developed an enviable care network for dementia sufferers and their carers.

Mr Isherwood said: “Whilst I commend the steps taken by Flintshire council, this in no way fills the gap created by the withdrawal of the ANS.

“One does not compensate for the other. Instead, plans to deliver more care to people in their own communities will be set back if the lack of this service leads to more bed blocking in hospitals.”