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Medical practices win acclaim for dementia-friendly surgeries

PUBLISHED: 11:43 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:51 11 September 2018

Janet Eastwood, chairman of Sheringham medical practice PPG, receives the DFC Certificate from Dr Liz Waddy. Picture: NHS South Norfolk CCG

Janet Eastwood, chairman of Sheringham medical practice PPG, receives the DFC Certificate from Dr Liz Waddy. Picture: NHS South Norfolk CCG

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Two medical practices have been given the seal of approval by local health bodies for their work in making their surgeries dementia-friendly.

Sue Meadows receives the dementia-friendly practice certificate on behalf of Wymondham medical practice from Dr Liz Waddy. Picture: NHS South Norfolk CCGSue Meadows receives the dementia-friendly practice certificate on behalf of Wymondham medical practice from Dr Liz Waddy. Picture: NHS South Norfolk CCG

Sheringham and Wymondham both received certification from Healthwatch Norfolk for making their surgeries more accessible and friendly for people with the illness and their carers.

The Dementia Friendly Practices project, coordinated by Ed Fraser from Healthwatch Norfolk, in partnership with NHS North and South Norfolk CCGs, developed the guidance for practices through working with local dementia groups, patient participation groups (PPG) and practice managers. It builds on best practice guidelines produced by Alzheimer’s UK.

The project is now encouraging GP surgeries in the north and south of the county to work with patients and promote the five simple steps for making their sites more accessible and dementia-friendly.

Making simple changes to the environment and experience of using a GP surgery can help make life easier for people who live with dementia, and help them stay independent as long as possible – such as offering double-length appointments for people with dementia, and using signs around the surgery that contain pictures as well as words.

Dr Liz Waddy, local GP and dementia lead for NHS South Norfolk CCG, said: “People who live with dementia face many daily challenges, and even the simplest of changes can have a powerful effect on helping them cope. I have been so impressed with how much work has been done by the local communities. This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of local patients.”

The Sheringham PPG is now working with other local groups and organisations, such as churches and dentists, to help them become more dementia-friendly.

In Wymondham the project was coordinated by Sue Meadows, who received the Dementia-Friendly certification on behalf of the practice before she retires later this month.

Alex Stewart, chief executive at Healthwatch Norfolk, said: “We recognise the pressure that primary care services are under so the aim of the guide is to support GP practices to become more dementia-friendly in simple steps that can be easily implemented.

“We are delighted to see the first practices successfully implement the guidance.”

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