Hundreds of people with dementia are being rushed to Dorset County Hospital's emergency department, according to NHS statistics.

Figures show that 2,258 people over the age of 65 and living with dementia in Dorset (excluding the conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole), were admitted to A&E in 2017 to 2018.

Now, local carers and families are being asked to share their experiences and views on the NHS services supporting people with dementia.

The county's health watchdog, Healthwatch Dorset, has launched 'What would you do?' to encourage people in the county to share their views about what changes to local NHS services should look like.

The government has developed a ten year plan for the NHS covering the whole of England, but now local organisations are being asked to work out what changes can be made locally to help make the NHS better for local people.

Louise Bate, Healthwatch Dorset manager, said: "With an estimated 8,256 people living with dementia in Dorset, it’s alarming to see so many of these people being admitted to A&E. Is this because they have nowhere else to go or that specialist dementia care is simply not available?

"Our role at Healthwatch is to ensure we gather views both good and bad from members of the public and then pass these on to the decision-making bodies who plan, pay for and run these services in Dorset. It’s important that people have a say in how their local health and care service is run, so they can help shape it for the better."

89-year-old James Sanger, from Poole, looked after his wife Phil for seven years after she was diagnosed with vascular dementia. She died in May last year after her condition deteriorated.

Mr Sanger said: "After Phil was diagnosed with dementia at Lilliput Surgery, the very next day nurses came to visit us and we got all the support we needed. I have nothing negative to say about the health care we received.

“But if you happen to live in an area in Dorset where the surgery doesn’t support you so well, things can be very different."

Healthwatch Dorset is also hoping to hear from people about how other health services could improve, including those that support people with mental health conditions, cancer, heart and lung diseases, learning disabilities and autism.

People can share their views via an online survey: NHS representatives will also be carrying out engagement work with patients, staff and the community to encourage feedback on the local plan.


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