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New memory service launched in Ipswich and east Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 16:43 01 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:19 01 November 2017

New memory service launched in Ipswich and east Suffolk (stock image). Picture: JAMES BASS

New memory service launched in Ipswich and east Suffolk (stock image). Picture: JAMES BASS

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2009

People who have trouble with their memory now have access to a new service in Ipswich and east Suffolk.

The revamped community memory assessment service (CMAS) was launched yesterday thanks to £580,000 of funding being made available by the Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

The money will fund the service, launched by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) yesterday, for the next three years.

Patients who have been referred by their GP will be given a pre-screening check to rule out any physical causes or delirium before they are referred to the service. A senior practitioner will then carry out an initial assessment before a multidisciplinary team of nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, support workers, and a consultant psychiatrist will meet to formulate a diagnosis.

All diagnoses will be signed off by the consultant psychiatrist, who will also be able to carry out additional, more specialist assessments in the most complex cases.

Assessments will be available at NSFT bases across Ipswich and east Suffolk, as well as in GP surgeries and community settings.

The new service will see up to 1,400 patients every year compared to around 1,200 previously. It aims to increase diagnosis rates so patients can begin treatment more quickly while benefiting from earlier access to post-diagnostic support.

Simon Leach, locality manager at the NSFT, said: “This new service will offer support more quickly where a diagnosis is confirmed. Our aim is to diagnose all patients within 12 weeks of their referral. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, we may be able to offer medication to the patient and follow up appointments to review their treatment.

“A lot of people coming into the service are really anxious, so we do our best to offer them as much reassurance and support as we can. Memory problems can be caused by a range of different things, such as depression, anxiety, medication or pain, so it’s important to remember that a referral to the CMAS doesn’t always mean the patient has dementia.”

Following treatment and review, patients will continue to be cared for by their GP but will be referred back to NSFT if problems persist.

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