Earlier this year, in recognition of Dementia Awareness Week and at the request of the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, I wrote to the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to request information about memory clinics in our area. Specifically I asked for the names and addresses of memory services in Wycombe and their waiting times, whether the services had been accredited by the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme, and how these services are assisting dementia suffers in Wycombe.

Memory services provided by the Trust are run by the High Wycombe Community Mental Health Team, operating from the Shrublands Day Hospital, Queen’s Road.

The target is that all patients referred to them are seen within four weeks. In April, the Wycombe Team only had five patients who had to wait longer. This represents a small proportion of their new referrals (less than 10%). Of those, it is estimated that 40%-60% would be waiting for memory services.

Upon consideration, they have decided not to become accredited, judging that the Accreditation Programme would cost several thousands of pounds over the first few years. This money may have had to come from patient care. Similarly, the bureaucratic workload involved could also detract from patient care. They concluded that the Accreditation Programme itself is simply an audit of a memory service and would not in itself improve the Memory Clinic. However, this decision is being kept under review.

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