A North East clinical commissioning group plans to decommission a specialist dementia nursing service and replace it with a carer support service.
Hull Clinical Commissioning Group has said it will decommission the current service using Admiral nurses, supplied by Dementia UK, and hosted by Humber Foundation Trust.
“It seems very short sighted to close this service”
It claimed that a replacement carer support service would support more families and patients from April next year.
Admiral nurses work with patients and families to give practical and emotional support,and help coordinate different parts of the health and social care system. The service in Hull has three nurses and one administrator.
In a statement, Hull CCG said the new scheme was under procurement, but the specification would include specialist nursing to support carers with “a larger, more comprehensive support service”.
However, it added: “The service specification does not require the provider to employ a specific skill mix within the workforce. The commissioner focus is on the quality of outcomes such as service delivery and patient or carer experience.”
The CCG said 1,861 patients in Hull had a dementia diagnosis as of March and it expects demand for support to rise by 42% by 2030.
The 77 families using Admiral nurses will be supported by the new service, it added.
“We need to be able to provide expert support, advice and guidance to many more dementia carers”
Lucy Frost, a dementia champion and nurse specialist at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust, said: “It seems very short sighted to close this service.”
“Those 77 people may have the most intense need – and the specialised support from an admiral nurse can reduce risk of hospital admission, provide continuity of care, play a role in supporting a person to stay in their own home for longer – by supporting the family carer with their role and helping to ease the carer burden.
“To my mind, the statement from Hull CCG glosses over the potential harms of taking away this service,” she said.
Dementia UK said in a statement that it was disappointed with the decision.
Hilda Hayo, chief Admiral nurse and chief executive of the charity, said: “Dementia UK is actively seeking the support of an alternative organisation to host the service.
“Our priority is the families who are living with dementia and we are committed to providing them with an excellent level of specialist dementia care through Admiral nurses and to ensure this is continued once the current CCG funding ends,” she said.
A CCG spokeswoman said: “We need to be able to provide expert support, advice and guidance to many more dementia carers in Hull than the level currently supported by the Admiral nursing service.
“We are commissioning an integrated carer support service, working closely with professionals in the community and hospital, so that there is one point of contact for carers – and they receive a holistic service, including the specialist skills required for dementia,” she added.
Information provided to HSJ