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Farron calls for return of specialist dementia care to Westmorland General

November 23, 2009 12:00 AM

Local MP and vice chair of the All Party Group on Dementia, Tim Farron has warned that the lack of specialist dementia care provided in hospitals is having a detrimental impact on the health of people with dementia.

Following last week's publication of Alzheimer's Society report Counting the Cost into the experiences of hospital care for people with dementia and their carers, Mr Farron has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons urging the Government to press on PCTs the need to implement the recommendations in the National Dementia Strategy on improved quality of care in general hospitals.

Mr Farron believes specialist care such as that provided by the now closed Ward 2 at Kendal's Westmorland General Hospital are essential to improving the current standard of care available for dementia sufferers. Mr Farron has asked hospital trust bosses to open a new facility for older people with dementia related illnesses at Westmorland General.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"It is extremely distressing that the UK is not providing high quality dementia care. One in three people over 65 die with dementia, while up to one quarter of hospital beds at any one time are used by people with dementia.

"Over half of nurses surveyed said they haven't received any work based development or learning opportunities in dementia care. Nowhere is this problem more evident than at Westmorland General, which although full of fantastic nurses, isn't staffed by an expert dementia team.

"Two years on from the closure of Ward 2, and still nursing staff and patients alike are suffering due to the lack of specialist provision at the Westmorland General. Often up to 50% of patients on the Langdale Unit at Westmorland General may have dementia, so the demand for this care is clear for all to see.

"We must improve training and support and give staff recognition for the difficult and important role they undertake. This means taking action now to provide the right care for those with additional needs by reopening Ward 2."