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LIPgraphic125.jpgAn overhaul of NHS support for people with dementia is needed with a duty on health authorities to provide advocacy services to help people apply for care. You can download a copy of the report here.

These are two of the recommendations from Sally Keeble's report, "Lost in the process" which sets out a package of reforms needed for NHS support for the 800,000 people living with dementia and other longterm conditions. The report draws from a survey of health services in England and the experiences of people in Northampton caring for relatives.

Sally Keeble said the seven recommendations would ease the heartache of people lost is a the maze of red tape that surrounds funding. "Fewer than one in ten of people living with dementia get access to NHS continuing healthcare funding which is designed to help meet the costs of caring. My report puts forward practical steps to help them.

"If you are living with dementia, or have a family member affected by the condition, I want to hear from you. You can let me have your views and comments here."

The report recommends that: 

  • Clinical commissioning groups, the new health authorities, should spend a proportion of their resources on specialised advocacy services to support people through the application, appeal and review process.
  • A mandatory, accredited training scheme is needed for all health and social service staff involved in assessing people for continuing healthcare.
  • GPs need to be more routinely and effectively involved in assessments of their patients for continuing healthcare.
  • Detailed guidance is needed on how the views of family members should be taken into account in the process.
  • Detailed guidance is also needed on involvement of external specialists.
  • CCGs should have a proportion of their continuing healthcare decisions audited nationally.
  • A national review is needed of how decisions on continuing healthcare are made to protect against a postcode lottery.

Welcoming the report, Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: "people with dementia can often require round the clock care, putting huge strain on families and individuals both emotionally and financially. The financial support provided by NHS continuing healthcare is a lifeline for people with dementia and their carers.

"Callers to our Dementia Lifeline tell us that applying for continuing healthcare for a loved one with dementia is a minefield. All too often we hear of families who are refused funding because their local CCG does not adhere to proper process. 

"It is entirely unacceptable that there is no duty on CCGs to fund advocacy services  - which are essential to support families through the complex assessment process. A thorough review of NHS continuing care is needed to ensure vulnerable people are not unfairly disadvantaged by a flawed and poorly implemented system."

You can contact Alzheimer's Society through their website here.

To support Sally's work on dementia care services, Liz Kendal MP, shadow health minister, pictured, visited Northampton and took part in a roundtable discussion.

You can see detailed results of the survey of clinical commissioning groups here.

 

Overhaul of support needed for 800,000 people living with dementia

An overhaul of NHS support for people with dementia is needed with a duty on health authorities to provide advocacy services to help people apply for care. You can download...

Swingeing cuts to advice services in Northamptonshire are to be made according to a County Council report  -  despite the rising number of people with money and benefit problems.

 And the changes will not go out to public consultation or to councillors for decision - because the report says that authority has already been delegated to a council official to make the changes.

Sally Keeble has slated the changes and said that the report should go to a council meeting so that it can be debated and the decision made by councillors. The County is planning to scrap the entire £240,000 funding for charities that provide money and debt advice.

The review of debt advice services recommends that:

- the Value of the work should be cut from £240,000 to £150,000

- the money should be divided up between the district and borough councils - with £10,000 to be held back for reserves.

"It is noted that the Cabinet report was consulted on. No further consultation on the delegated decision is required," the report says.

Meanwhile, £1,000,000 left in the Social Fund - which is supposed to help families in desperate need - is to be spent on one-off training of 3,000money advisers across the County.

The changes are due to come into place in October - allowing little time to adjust for the existing agencies which include Community Law Service in Northampton and five of the County's CABs, providing services by phone, face to face and through home visits.  In total they provided advice for 5,025 people across Northamptonshire, claimed £6,878,192 in benefits for clients, managed £11,183,722 worth of debt and helped 622 people with court and tribunal hearings.

The ending of the existing arrangements, which cover money, benefit, housing and related advice services, was due to be told to the local agencies that provide existing services by mid July, with their contracts ending and the new arrangements coming into place in October.

Sally Keeble said: "At a time when people are struggling to manage debt and benefit changes, this strategy makes no sense. The cuts in voluntary sector funding threatens an expert and specialist service that is very highly regarded.

"It's a big and controversial decision with far-reaching implications. So it is completely wrong that it should be left to an unelected official to take and implement over the summer holidays. It will affected people in every part of the County, and councillors should have their say.

"Meanwhile what's left of the Social Fund, which is supposed to help people in real emergency, is being used instead for basic training. Yet this basic training will not be enough to deal with complex and specialist cases," Sally said.

You can sign the petition to call on the Council to publish and consult on the report, and then take the decision at a public council meeting here.

 

Swingeing cuts to advice services in secret Northants County Council Report

Swingeing cuts to advice services in Northamptonshire are to be made according to a County Council report  -  despite the rising number of people with money and benefit problems.

steps250.jpgSally Keeble has called on Network Rail to provide assurances about the main entrance to Northampton's new railway station after concerns over the lack of step-free access.

Her call comes after repeated requests for a ramp at the front entrance and extra stairs or escalators at the rear to reach the first floor ticketing hall of the striking new building which is nearing completing at Black Lion Hill.

Rail campaigners in Northampton have repeatedly queried the access arrangements for the station since the plans for the new building were first released. The building is a dramatic improvement on the existing station, but further work is needed on the access.

Sally has written to Network Rail setting out the problems and asking for an urgent response as the station is due to open in September.

She says: "The new station is a prestigious development for the town. However, the main pedestrian entrance off Black Lion Hill currently appears to be up a flight of about 13 to 15 steps. At the rear of the building there is a staircase and a small lift. This is inadequate for the many people who have restricted mobility due to disability, or because they are carrying luggage or children. There have been requests for a ramp, or for an extra staircase or escalators at the rear, but so far assurances on this have not been forthcoming.

"With the opening due soon, we need a speedy response from Network Rail. The station is an important development for the town, and the public access needs to be right."

A third access point for people arriving by car will be via a walkway from the first floor of a multi-story carpark which is currently at the planning stage and due to open next year.

The development of the station is led by a partnership led by Network Rail, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, with the Government providing £10 million of the funding.

 

Sally calls for assurances on public access to Northampton's new railway station

Sally Keeble has called on Network Rail to provide assurances about the main entrance to Northampton's new railway station after concerns over the lack of step-free access.

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