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All NHS staff to receive specialist dementia training in future

All NHS staff will be able to receive specialist dementia training by 2018, a new NHS document has revealed.

Health Education England (HEE) has been tasked with ensuring that training programmes are available for all staff within four years.

The training will support staff to spot the early symptoms of dementia, enable them to understand how to interact with people who have the condition and teach them where to signpost patients to the most appropriate places for care and support.

“It is vital that all staff from porters to nurses and doctors are aware of dementia”

Jeremy Hughes

HEE’s mandate from the Department of Health, published yesterday, says that all staff who come into contact with dementia sufferers will go through a training programme and training opportunities will be available to every single member of staff by the end of 2018.

The document says that so far HEE has already ensured that 100,000 staff have received training, with a further 250,000 expected to be given the classes by March 2015.

In his forward in the mandate, health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “The biggest challenge facing every health and care system in the world is the same.

“People are living longer and have increasingly complicated health and care needs. We must continue to develop a more mobile and flexible healthcare workforce capable of delivering increasingly sophisticated and personalised care across a variety of care settings.”

Jeremy Hughes

Jeremy Hughes

The Alzheimer’s Society welcomed the move. Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the charity, said: “This is huge progress and a massive step in the right direction.

“People with dementia occupy up to a quarter of hospital beds and many may not be able to communicate that they are pain, in need of help, hungry, thirsty or simply uncomfortable,” he said.

“This is why it is vital that all staff from porters to nurses and doctors are aware of dementia and trained in how they can meet the complex needs of those with the condition,” he added.

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