More people with dementia are being rushed to hospital emergency departments in Somerset, according to NHS statistics.

The rate of emergency admissions to hospital for people with dementia in Somerset has increased by 10% – from 2017 to 2018.  More than 4,500 people over the age of 65 and living with dementia in Somerset were admitted to A&E in 2017 to 2018, an increase of almost 10% on figures from 2016 to 2017 (4,087).

Now local carers and families are being sought to share their experiences and views on the NHS services supporting people living with dementia.

Independent health and care champion Healthwatch Somerset has launched What would you do? to encourage people in the county to share their views about what changes to local NHS services should look like.

The Government has developed a ten year plan for the NHS covering the whole of England. Local organisations have now been asked to work out what changes will be made locally to help make the NHS better for local people.

Emily Taylor, Healthwatch Somerset Manager, said: “With an estimated 5,453 people living with dementia in Somerset, it’s worrying to see so many of these people being admitted to A&E.  We are concerned this is this could be because they have nowhere else to go or that specialist dementia care is simply not available.

“Our role at Healthwatch is to ensure we gather views both good and bad from members of the public and then pass these on to the decision-making bodies who plan, pay for and run these services in Somerset.  It’s important that people have a say in how their local health and care service is run, so they can help shape it for the better.”

Healthwatch Somerset is also keen to hear from people about how other health services could improve, including those that support people with mental health conditions, cancer, heart and lung diseases, learning disabilities and autism.  People can also share their views about how the NHS can help them stay well, and take more control over their health and care.

Staff and volunteers will be at Bridgwater Community Hospital on Thursday 11 April from 10am – 12pm to find out what people think.  People can also share their views via an online survey: www.healthwatch.co.uk/what-would-you-do

Representatives from the local NHS will also be carrying out engagement work with patients, staff and the community to encourage feedback on the local plan.

For more details on What Would You Do? visit: www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/what-would-you-do

*NHS figures taken from Public Health England data: www.fingertips.phe.org.uk/

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