I was surprised.
When the National Dementia Strategy was published in February 2009, although it wasn't a vision of perfection, it had good content and importantly also had cash attached to it. Strategic Health Authorities were given millions to implement the strategy. Not just "these are good ideas" or "do more, and now start doing it right" but instead a sensible strategy with sensible amounts of cash to resource it.
I was pleased.
Okay, okay, in my corner our Trust didn't get a penny more, but had (and still have) to deliver on objectives, so are being asked to do more and mroe without anything extra. But across Primary Care and the Local Authority and care homes, new money has been thrown at it and has helped patients. Mostly with Continuing Care funding, it seems.
I am still pleased.
That was February 2009. Time moves on. 1 year 8 months on and it's all gone quiet, with no enthusiasm to tackle dementia and the focus has moved elsewhere. No no no. This week the Department of Health published another document, following on from the National Dementia Strategy, called Quality outcomes for people with dementia : Builing on the work of the National Dementia Strategy. Okay, it's not the snappiest title for a document, but what's the document about? Read it on the DoH website, here.
It only came out this week, on the 28th September, so I've only just got around to reading it, thinking about it and forming a view. It contains 9 desired outcomes for people with dementia, which are clear and meaningful and realistic. It gives explanation of how theese outcomes can be delivered without oodles of prescriptive mandates and This Is What Thou Shalt Do edicts. Even the appendix, Annex 1, gives genuinely helpful descriptors for what the 9 outcomes/improvements for patients with dementia mean, in a nutshell.
First there's a National Dementia Strategy with a clear, over arching vision for health and social welfare that had millions attached to it, that we got. Then there's a follow up document a year and a half on, maintaining focus and contributing useful outcomes.
I remain pleased. Pleased and very pleasantly surprised.