Using Data to Improve Dementia Care in England

dementiaA new Dementia Profile, developed by Public Health England’s (PHE’s) National Dementia Intelligence Network (DIN), presents a major change in the way dementia data will be used locally.

For the first time, the profile will enable bespoke comparison between local authorities and CCG’s in England in one, interactive online platform.

The profile shares key information, such as how many people have dementia broken down by area and age; the number of people who have received an NHS health check; the number of people who have depression; emergency hospital admission numbers; and where people with dementia die.

The launch of this profile will help commissioners fulfil objectives set out in the NHS planning guidance by making information readily available to identify variation, investigate the reasons for any differences and improve outcome.

For example, the data shows that the national rate for the number of people with dementia aged 65 or over being admitted to hospital as an emergency in 2013/14 was 3,046 per 100,000.  If a CCG has a significantly higher proportion of emergency admissions compared to the national average, this will warrant further investigation.

Also published today is a Data Catalogue, which lists and highlights all dementia data currently available at CCG and local authority level.  The catalogue is the first stage in ensuring all gaps in dementia data are filled and will stimulate conversation and joint working across organisations to make more data available for potential inclusion within the Dementia Profile.

Professor John Newton, Chief Knowledge Officer at PHE, said, “The launch of this profile puts information on dementia into the hands of people who can use it to make a difference.  Having all this data available in one place presents major opportunities to commissioners, local authorities and decision makers to change how dementia and dementia services look across the country.

“In collaboration with the NHS, Alzheimer’s Society and other partners we have developed a tool to support the whole system – from national and local government to the third sector and the general public.  It is early days but we hope that local areas will use this tool to ensure services are appropriately commissioned and to make sustainable improvements of real benefit to patients with dementia and their families.”

Prof Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for dementia, said, “Every person with dementia deserves the best treatment and our aim is that they, their families and carers get the best quality support following diagnosis.  To have a one-stop shop for data like this will help us improve services for patients and families and consequently improve their experiences.

George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said, “Having more information about dementia care at our fingertips is key to driving up standards.  One of the problems in preventing poor care has been a lack of information and transparency.  This important resource is a step towards tackling the postcode lottery, supporting commissioners to make evidence-based decisions about what services are needed, while shining a light on areas in need of improvement.”

Intelligence briefings will be published later in the year.  Data updates will take place periodically.

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