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Press Release | Croydon’s dementia carers want clearer and consistent health and social care support.


Croydon’s dementia carers want clearer and consistent health and social care support
Press release • Dementia carers are confused about where they can get effective support. • One in three carers did not feel they got the right support at the right time. • Healthwatch recommends consistent information, looking at the whole carer journey, and an integrated approach by services to meet carers needs. Croydon’s dementia carers want better health and social care, information, advice according to an insight report from Healthwatch Croydon, the borough’s champion for better health and social care services.

Dementia is a key issue for Croydon with Croydon Council stating that over 3611 people live with this condition* in the borough and with the expectation of an increase in people diagnosed in the years to come, particular with an increasingly aging population. Healthwatch Croydon spoke to 70 carers of those with dementia, recorded in their report Dementia carers experiences of using Croydon’s health and social care services and heard the following:

  • GPs are crucial to the carer experience: Local doctors are the gateway to diagnosis and support.
  • Clear pathways for support are very important: Having an understanding of a clear pathway for support is significant in helping patients and carers cope with their situation. Many patients in Croydon were confused about how they accessed the right sources of information and support.
  • Right support at the right time: Appropriate support at the right time makes a difference to carers and patients experience. A third of those surveyed felt they did not get what they needed when they needed it.
  • NHS service experience is mostly positive, but good practice needs to be shared: A more consistent service experience would be beneficial.
  • Social care advice and support seems to focus on finances first before care options: Carers felt there was a lack of useful information or help with too much emphasis on financial aspects of providing care and process issues.

These are our recommendations

  • Ensure all GPs are fully compliant with national guidelines in diagnosis and response times for.
  • Present the appropriate pathways of support and information in a clear way which can be easily understood by the carer, perhaps as a leaflet and online material.
  • Each NHS service should review their service delivery where patients with dementia are involved to ensure they meet patient and carer needs at each stage in the customer journey, with an emphasis on working together to deliver a seamless service between providers.
  • Review social service information and support to focus on care options before considering finances.
  • Continued monitoring of patient and carer experience by all service providers to see how service experience has changed in previous 12 months, and using that experience to find solutions by working together through the One Croydon Alliance.

Gordon Kay, Healthwatch Croydon Manager said “Carers with dementia have a long and difficult journey from first concern, to diagnosis of their relatives and then finding the right support for them. Our insight shows there is a confusion about the best pathway to services. The role of the GP is crucial as a gateway to service, but a more integrated approach by all providers from both hospital and community health services, social services and the specialist voluntary organisations, will benefit the experience of dementia carers. Good information and advice exists, primarily with specialist voluntary organisations, but it needs to be shared. Continued monitoring of patient experience and a commitment by all involved to contribute to a clear wider strategy will make a big difference.”

Rachel Carse, Dementia Action Alliance lead & Social Inclusion Coordinator, Croydon Council said: “Listening to the views of carers and people living with dementia is something that the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance (CDAA) takes very seriously. We would like to thank Healthwatch for this report and we appreciate the contributions from the carers and family members who have shared their views. In the past year, the membership of the CDAA has grown substantially due to Croydon Council funding a full-time post to increase its reach and impact. Every Practice Manager in the borough has recently attended a ‘Making your GP practice Dementia Friendly’ session. The Council, Clinical Commissioning Group, Croydon Health Services and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust are working together to make the journey seamless from diagnosis to support with health and social care needs. CDAA will continue building on the extensive work achieved so far locally this year including the improvements highlighted in the report.”

Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Chair of Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group spokesman said: “NHS Croydon CCG welcomes Healthwatch’s report and their interest in this important area that affects so many of our residents. Alongside our partners in the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance, we are working hard to make improvements for people living with dementia, their carers and families. This report will help us further focus our efforts for local people.”

Michael Fanning, Director Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals, said: “We welcome this report by Healthwatch Croydon looking at the experience of carers of people with dementia in our borough. We currently have a number of measures in place to support patients with dementia and their carers. These include participating in national audits to assess our performance against others, signposting people to other NHS services that can offer ongoing support and contacting carers to obtain feedback on their experiences. We are also active members of the Croydon Dementia Action Alliance and have trained hundreds of our staff to be ‘dementia friends’. However, we know there is more than can be done to support the carers of people living with dementia, so will also work closely with our partners across health and social care to see what additional actions are needed to create truly integrated services.”

South London and the Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “The report will be used to inform discussions we will be having with our Service User and Careers Action Group (SUCAG), to ensure we continue providing high standards of care, including a new care pathway for people with dementia in Croydon.”

Full responses from all providers detailing more of what they have undertaken or plan to do can be found within the report, which can be viewed at

Editor’s notes

Healthwatch Croydon is here to improve the experience that Croydon people have when they need to use health and social care services. We believe that the best way to do this is by listening to patients and service users.
There is a local Healthwatch in every local authority area in England.

Our role is to make sure that that local health and social care services, and the local decision makers, put the experiences of people at the heart of their care.

We are a statutory body – this means that we have legal status to existing within the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This means decision-makers should listen to us when we give them feedback and make suggestions.

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