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News Report Page 3 of 18
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Almost 50% of people living with dementia in Southport and Formby go undiagnosed

NEW research has revealed only 57% of people living with dementia in Southport and Formby and its surrounding areas have received a diagnosis. The research from Future Health, the healthcare policy research consultancy, was commissioned and funded by Roche Products Ltd to further the understanding of care for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Sam Bolam, CEO of carers of people with dementia network tide (together in dementia everyday), said:- "We hear regularly from those in our network about how difficult it is to get an accurate and timely diagnosis; and this report shows the scale of the challenge we now face. Any new dementia strategy must provide additional support for carers to help them in their critical role in supporting people with this complex condition."

Richard Sloggett, Founder of Future Health and a former special advisor in the Department of Health and Social Care, said:- "The Pandemic has set back the progress made on dementia diagnosis rates and urgent action is now needed to support recovery across Southport and Formby. The forthcoming dementia strategy must tackle regional disparities, particularly in how patient access to a diagnosis can be improved. New targets, investment in diagnostics and technology along with a public health campaign can all help deliver a dementia diagnostic recovery that ensures patients can get access to the treatment, care and support they deserve."

In connection to this issue, the MP for Sefton Central has called on the Government to invest £70m on dementia diagnosis over the next year to catch up on the cases that were missed during the Pandemic. Mr Esterson, said there were thought to be on average 5 patients at each GP practice in the UK who are living with dementia and would have been diagnosed, and been getting the support they need, were it not for the Pandemic. As a result he has written to the Health Secretary to ask that the extra funds are made available to the NHS so that this backlog can be addressed.

Mr Esterson wrote:- "A diagnosis is vital for people living with dementia, unlocking support and allowing them to plan for the future. As of March 2022, 62.0% of people living with dementia in England had received a diagnosis; a fall of 5.4%age points from March 2020, when the rate was 67.4%. This rate has stagnated since July last year. The NHS has a target of 66.7%, which was met consistently for 5 years before the Pandemic. It's crucial that we get back to this level as quickly as possible. While £17 million was provided to diagnostic services in the last financial year (2021 to 2022), rates have increased by only 0.1% since then. Alzheimer's Society tell me no further investment has been earmarked for this current financial year, which puts addressing the backlog at serious risk. I am told that £70 million in funding would provide the additional capacity needed to reach the national target. Being forgetful and repeating yourself over and over is not a sign of getting old, it is a sign of getting ill. This is the key message from the Alzhemier's Society during Dementia Action Week. I would urge all my constituents who are concerned about themselves or a loved 1 to please get your symptoms checked. A diagnosis will help you to get support now and plan for the future."

New School Nurse text messaging service launched for 11 to 19 year olds in Sefton

YOUNG people in Sefton will be able to contact their School Nurse in a quick and easy way, following the launch of a new text messaging service from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Sefton residents, aged 11 to 19, can send a message, anonymously if they wish, to their School Nurse to get confidential help and advice about a range of health concerns, including:- emotional health, sexual health, relationships, alcohol, drugs and bullying.

The new service is available Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 9am to 4.30pm. Each message sent to the dedicated number, 07312 263 291, will receive an automated reply and a specialist community public health Nurse will reply within 24 working hours.

Paula Lawrenson, team manager at the School Nurse service with Mersey Care, explained:- "This isn't an emergency service, but it will help young people reach out if they have concerns or need confidential advice from a health professional. It gives them another option if they are unsure about talking to anyone else and we are happy to talk anonymously if that makes it more comfortable for them - we just want to make sure they're getting the right guidance and advice for matters that can be hard to talk about. In other areas where it's used young people say they feel more comfortable talking about their issues in a discreet message, while parents and carers say messaging is a more convenient way for young people to ask quick questions."

The Sefton messaging service is run by Mersey Care and powered by the award winning messaging platform, ChatHealth, which has been widely implemented at several NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations across the UK. It was developed in 2013 by another NHS Trust to offer more choice in how people can get help from local School Nurses in their area.

Urgent help should be sought from an NHS Walk In Centre or by calling NHS 111. In an emergency, dial:- 999 or go to A&E and an automated response will signpost to these services.

Promotional materials have been distributed to Schools to advertise the service in the form of:- leaflets, poster and digital assets for websites, School app, parents' newsletter and some slides for Schools to be shared at assemblies.

Funding for transport projects to help tackle loneliness in the North West

FUNDING has been awarded to 12 organisations across England with the aim of understanding how transport can play a role in helping people who are feeling lonely.

Pilot projects receiving a share of the £5 million funding include:- support for older people using public transport after the Pandemic, autism awareness training for staff across the transport network and a group electric cycling scheme.

Millions of people across the nation are struggling with feelings of loneliness, which were exacerbated by the Pandemic. The Government is committed to tackling loneliness, including:- through building the evidence base for what can alleviate this problem. Findings from the pilots will be used to inform how future transport schemes can contribute to reducing loneliness in communities.

Minister Baroness Vere said:- "Loneliness affects millions of people across the UK. Transport can help us solve this problem by connecting us to people, places, and experiences. Congratulations to the organisations that secured funding for their proposals. This is a great opportunity to improve future transport schemes and shape the national conversation on loneliness. We will continue to work closely with transport providers and community groups to build an inclusive and accessible transport network."

Living Streets secured funding for their Walking Connects scheme. This project will encourage walking every day. It will focus on 2 initiatives: encouraging walking as a social activity, and tackling barriers to walking such as accessing social locations. The accessibility of streets will be assessed, identifying barriers to walking for older people and suggesting improvements.

Stephen Edwards, CEO of Living Streets, said:- "Walking and wheeling help improve mental and physical wellbeing, tackle depression and anxiety, and connect us with our world and those around us. They offer a free, easy and accessible solution to the debilitating impacts of loneliness. We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the Tackling Loneliness with Transport Fund during National Walking Month to work with older people in more deprived locations at greater risk of experiencing loneliness. We can't wait to get started on demonstrating the impact the simple act of walking can have on improving wellbeing and quality of life. "

Age UK's Travelling Companions scheme will involve volunteers across England encouraging and supporting older people to reconnect with their communities, including:- using public transport again, after the prolonged period of enforced isolation caused by the Pandemic.

Hannorah Lee, Director of Partnerships at Age UK, said:- "Age UK is delighted to have been awarded funding from the Tackling Loneliness With Transport Fund. Around 1.2 million older people in the UK often feel lonely[i], which can have a devastating impact on their mental and physical health, and the Pandemic made the situation worse. Age UK's Travelling Companions scheme will help significant numbers of older people to get back on public transport and go out and about once more. Best of all, it will have lasting benefits for them, improving their quality of life and supporting them to feel part of their communities again."

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