Norfolk’s Admiral Nurse two-year pilot to help people with dementia coming to an end

Norfolk's first Admiral Nurse, Zena Aldridge. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk's first Admiral Nurse, Zena Aldridge. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A highly-respected nurse has appealed for a service helping people with dementia to continue, when the two-year pilot scheme in Norfolk comes to an end.

Norfolk's lead Admiral Nurse was funded by the People's Health Trust and another two Admiral Nurses by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The two-year project, based in the Dereham and Watton area, ends in April but an evaluation estimated that it resulted in savings to health and social care of more than £443,593 from June 2013 to April 2014.

South Norfolk's Clinical Commissioning Group has offered a grant to Age UK Norfolk to ensure an Admiral Nurse can continue a similar service for a further year while all options for dementia care in South Norfolk are properly reviewed, with a view to commissioning a service next year.

The precise amount of grant and the details of the service to be provided by this post are still being discussed and Kate Rudkin, of Age UK Norfolk, admitted it could mean there are changes for individuals who have been receiving the service.

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She said: 'The service is likely to be developed, but it won't be the same as the previous service.'

At the moment, the Admiral Nurses currently cover GP surgeries in Watton, Shipdham, Mattishall, North Elmham, as well as the Theatre Royal Dereham, Orchard Surgery Dereham and the Walker Gregory Practice, Toftwood.

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Mary Brydon, a retired nurse who was awarded an OBE and a fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing for her work setting up an allergy nurse service in Norfolk, said the Admiral Nurses would be greatly missed if their funding came to an end.

Mrs Brydon, 74, from Mileham, has experience of the service and said: 'Having that professional contact, and knowing they are coming at a certain time gives carers a great deal of comfort and help as they can tell you what you need to be doing because you don't know about it until you get dropped in the deep end.

'They put you on the right path and even if you don't need urgent help, knowing it's there in the background is psychologically beneficial.'

A spokesman for South Norfolk CCG said: 'The CCG, together with other partners are working to redesign support services for people with dementia and their carers. This is very much in its early stages.

'The CCG will be speaking with a wide range of people to make sure future provision is based on real evidence of local need.

'The CCG believes that dementia should not be viewed in isolation from the wider health and social care needs of patients and carers. South Norfolk CCG is looking to integrate any dementia care it commissions in the future with other aspects of health and social care.'

• An eight-page preview of Dementia Friendly Day will be free in next Tuesday's (January 20) Eastern Daily Press.

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