Dementia United Greater Manchester Locality Meeting Review

Dementia United (DU) held it’s Greater Manchester (GM) Locality Meeting on Wednesday 21st September. The afternoon session brought together localities from across Greater Manchester to exchange ideas and insights as the programme continues to develop.

The day began with Haelo’s Senior Quality Improvement Lead, Rachel Volland, welcoming the delegates.

Salford Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Accountable Officer/DU Task and Finish group Chair, Anthony Hassall, shared his hopes for the GM wide meeting of ‘creating conversation’ and ‘getting energy and content out of experts in the room to input into the implementation modelling for DU.’

Anthony Hassall described Greater Manchester devolution and the creation of the GM Health and Social Care Partnership to date which highlighted dementia as a priority.

With the priority confirmed, Anthony explained how the Dementia United Task and Finish Group had ‘clearly defined 4 products (outputs) constructed over the past three or four months to help the system better understand DU and its drive forward’. This was through activities including meetings and engagements with a wide range of stakeholders including Local Authorities, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Acute providers community and support groups.


‘We’ve got to a really positive place’


DU has created a set of standards (framework) as product one, these Greater Manchester wide standards have been reviewed and accepted however Anthony Hassall highlighted that these ‘will be expected to evolve and iterate.’ There is ‘really great stuff in localities already’ there may also be ‘less developed but still great work.’ Anthony recognised that there is ‘variation that needs to be sorted out.’

Product 2 are locality profiles developed by DU, with assistance from Haelo. These show the ‘current state of play’ at a point in time which will be helpful to set context for the next stage of Dementia United. Anthony calls for discussion around the system both for Greater Manchester wide and also in individual localities. He asks ‘Is there an optimum way of improving the system – making it affordable for example.’ He concludes by praising the work as ‘intensely moving forward’ and that the hard work has ‘brought us to this crucial point’ as the Dementia United journey develops.
Next up is Warren Heppolette, Strategic Director for Health and Social Care Reform at GM Health and Social Care Partnership, who speaks on the Dementia United Operating/Implementation Model – What Will This Look Like? He begins by stating that the standards highlight specific areas of care for Greater Manchester to work towards he stated ‘we haven’t taken bad first steps’ these will help focus the system though. He believes that the operating model needs to answer key questions which aren’t currently being addressed, primarily what is it like to live with dementia in Manchester.

The model needs ‘to recognise that’ and that ‘setting our own objectives is challenging but starts to unlock the big questions’ such as commissioning, delivery and the collective responsibility and key performance indicators.

Warren then runs through the Dementia United pledges and stresses the importance of the collective of these, the standards and reviewing the variation story through the locality profiles. Anthony Hassall poises the question; how would we do this starting from scratch? How can the best standards can be achieved?

Discussions then begin, utilising all the expertise in the room.

Warren brings table discussions to an end and opens the conversation to the wider room by asking for the headlines from the discussions.

There was consensus that the discussion had provided the basis of the next stage conversation on standards and the implementation model but that there will be a ‘need to have windows to review at regular intervals’ and that this is an opportunity to ‘keep conversations on standards ongoing.’ The challenge of diagnosis was acknowledged as a common theme across each table. Warren described this as a real opportunity to standardise the quality of diagnosis.

Other discussion points included decreasing variation and how this is achieved, the benefits of a GM oversight system through a steering group supporter by other groups which should include multiple representation from clinical and experienced members. Consistent terminology was mentioned by several groups, the positive effect that dementia friendly communities have had in empowering all stakeholders however it was suggested the landscape is not robust enough but that the collaborative suggested as part of the programme is on the ‘cusp of something quite wonderful.’ 

Warren concluded with his final remarks that the current situation is a ‘really good live network’ and will help broaden the work plan. Warren described a ‘useful starter for 10’ and that the afternoon had challenged ‘cold spots.’ Overall the meeting was seen as a ‘permanent resource’ which will reconvene. A very positive meeting.


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