This report provides an overview of the proposed Joint Dementia Strategy for Birmingham and Solihull 2023-2028 and the accompanying action plan 2023-25.
The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty, BSOL ICS presented the report, providing an overview of the proposed Joint Dementia Strategy for Birmingham and Solihull 2023-2028 and the accompanying action plan 2023-25.
Members were informed how the Strategy was developed through the Birmingham and Solihull Dementia Interface System Steering Group. Membership of this Group included ICB, Council, NHS, third sector and lived experience reps. The engagement undertaken with people with dementia and their carers was also outlined, to ensure their views informed the Strategy and its priorities.
Members raised the following observation and questions:
· Members welcomed the strong emphasis in the Strategy upon the needs of different communities across Birmingham and Solihull. A Member queried how the diversity of needs within each communities was taken into account. They also welcomed the focus upon people with learning disabilities in the Strategy and questioned how the needs of autistic people were considered.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty explained that, from a diversity perspective, there was emphasis upon personalised care and support, as well as ensuring everyone was treated as an individual. There was focus on ensuring equity through personalised care.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty explained that the strong emphasis upon people with learning difficulties in the Strategy was because people with Down syndrome faced a significantly greater risk of developing dementia. In addition, when people with learning difficulties developed dementia it often presented differently. It was also recognised how autistic people may present differently when developing dementia and also required their individual needs to be taken into account.
· A Member welcomed how, in the Action Plan, it detailed Councils adopting a simplified application form for Council Tax discounts. They queried whether simplified forms and guidance could be made available for a range of services, in one place.
· The Strategic Commissioner agreed, explaining how this point on ensuring clear information and advice was available was being taken into account. She also detailed the role of Community Wellbeing Hubs, which could support people in navigating and accessing support.
· A Member emphasised the importance of regular medication reviews and queried how this could be reflected in the Strategy.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty detailed how medication reviews were undertaken by Primary Care. Medicine management colleagues at the ICS had recently undertaken a pilot, looking at care home residents, including those at increased risk of, or with, dementia, to ensure they were receiving the most appropriate medication. This pilot had been extremely successful in identifying the reduction or removal of medication and was being rolled out across Birmingham and Solihull.
· A Member queried how the views of carers would be taken into account as part of the delivery of the Strategy, including in terms of being made aware of and accessing support. They also questioned the psychological support for carers.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty explained that, to support this Strategy, there was focus upon identifying people with dementia and their carers’. She detailed a pilot being undertaken with North Solihull Primary Care Network, where a member of staff from Dementia Connect had reviewed GP records, to identify people who may benefit from dementia services – this had led to a significant increase in people accessing support.
· The Strategic Commissioner detailed how, in addition to the Strategy, they had developed a 2 year Action Plan. This would be reviewed by the Birmingham and Solihull System Dementia Interface Steering Group, which included representatives with lived experience. Engagement activities, such as focus groups with local residents, would also be undertaken. The findings of this would inform the next iteration of the Action Plan.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty detailed how they were working with partners on the pre and post bereavement support available for carers, including via Dementia Connect.
· The Chief Executive Officer of Healthwatch welcomed the positive engagement work undertaken to support the development of this Strategy, which included members of the Healthwatch team. He welcomed the on-going engagement that would support the delivery also.
· A Member raised the emphasis in the Strategy upon access to a timely diagnosis with support before and after and requested further information on this.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty explained how there was focus upon diagnosis at the earliest opportunity, to allow the provision of appropriate treatment to slow the progression of dementia. Part of the rationale of developing a 2 year Action Plan was to enable consideration of the latest treatments available.
· A Member queried the outreach work undertaken for residents with conditions that put them at higher risk of dementia.
· The Senior Integration Manager for Frailty detailed how it would vary, according to the needs of the individual and their interaction with Primary Care. For a range of long-term conditions, people were offered an annual health check, which could include a memory assessment, as appropriate. From this, an individual may be referred to the memory assessment service. Here people were also offered support via Dementia Connect, which included expert dementia advisors. There was also focus upon digital solutions, to make assessments more accessible to a greater number of the population.
Members welcomed, when considering the Strategy, the focus upon the person impacted by dementia and their individual needs, as well as carers. The Chairman also welcomed the reference in the Action Plan to potentially inviting Members to become dementia champions for their Wards and encouraged participation in this.
The Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee:
(i) Endorsed the Joint Dementia Strategy for Birmingham and Solihull 2023-2028 and the accompanying action plan 2023-25.
(ii) Requested that the key points raised by Councillors be taken into account as part of the delivery of this strategy, including on support for autistic people, the importance of clear information, support and advice, as well as psychological support for carers.
(iii) Recommended approval of the Joint Dementia Strategy to Birmingham and Solihull ICB Governing Board.
(iv) Agreed for future communications on becoming dementia champions to be shared with the Committee.