Professor to lead national dementia strategy implementation

An academic and old age psychiatrist has been appointed to lead the implementation of the Department of Health’s national dementia strategy for England.

Professor Alistair Burns has been made national clinical director for dementia in an appointment that follows criticisms of the lack of leadership to implement the strategy in a National Audit Office report this month.

He is currently professor of old age psychiatry at Manchester University and also developed the South Manchester memory clinic, which provides diagnosis and assessment for people with memory problems. The development of memory clinics to ensure early diagnosis and intervention for people with dementia was one of the key proposals put forward in the strategy, which is one year old next week.

Alzheimer’s Society welcomes appointment

Ruth Sutherland, chief operating officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the charity was delighted by the appointment, adding: “This role will provide much needed leadership for the national dementia strategy for England and is vital for its success. We look forward to working with Professor Burns over the coming months and years.”

Leading DH civil servants and NHS heads will be grilled on the NAO’s findings at a meeting of the House of Commons public accounts committee this afternoon.

Director for older people appointed

In a separate appointment, the DH has made Professor David Oliver national clinical director for older people, with a remit that covers social care and the NHS.

He is currently consultant physician and clinical director at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, and among is responsibilities will be acting on the key findings of the Partnerships for Older People Projects (Popps).

An evaluation of the Popps programme, which funded 470 projects to provide early intervention and preventive services for older people, found that it led to an average drop of £2,166 in care spending on service users.

Related articles

National dementia strategy at risk of failure, says NAO

Andy Burnham: DH cannot force NHS to invest in prevention

DH: Popps lead to better health for older people


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