Dementia training for healthcare professionals needed, says report

The DoH should introduce an accredited dementia training scheme for healthcare professionals this year, a report suggests.

A National Audit Office report has signalled the need for a dementia training
A National Audit Office report has signalled the need for a dementia training

The National Audit Office (NAO) report highlights that currently there is no required dementia training for generalist healthcare professionals, and on-the-job training in dementia for healthcare staff is often ‘difficult to access'.

'Almost every health professional comes into contact with patients who have dementia, yet there is no required basic training in how to understand and support them,' the report says.

The report says that addressing this training gap will also require concerted action over several years by a large number of training and education bodies, ‘most of which are independent of the DoH and the NHS'.

The report says that although the DoH's national strategy for dementia, which was published last year, was ‘ambitious' and ‘comprehensive' there has not yet been a robust approach to implementation.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: 'At the moment the [DoH] strategy lacks the mechanism needed to bring around large-scale improvements and without these mechanisms it is unlikely that the intended and much needed transformation of services will be delivered within the strategy's five-year timeframe.'

Stephen O'Brien, shadow Conservative health minister, said: 'This report gives the lie to the government's so-called commitment to dementia. It is clear that ministers think that warm words are enough, and have washed their hands of delivery.'

Janet Davies, executive director of nursing and service delivery at the RCN, said: 'Training and education for healthcare staff working in all settings is vital if meaningful improvements for dementia patients are to be made. Greater investment is also needed for specialist dementia nurses, who provide support for dementia patients, their carers and families.'

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