A HUGE backlog of patients waiting for dementia treatment in Wiltshire has now been cleared.

Last year, it was reported that the county had one of the longest waiting lists for treatment in the UK, with limited funding for services causing a severe backlog in the north of the county specifically.

However, after significant investment the list has been greatly reduced and targets are now at expected levels.

A spokesman for the Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The backlog has been cleared for all of Wiltshire and new patients across the county can now expect to be seen within the Trust-wide target of four weeks for assessment and 13 weeks for treatment.”

Patients were previously having to wait from several weeks to up to a year before receiving vital care.

The number of cases and delays to CT scans were the reasons being given for the delays.

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership covers Wiltshire and works with the CCG to provide assessments, diagnosis and treatment.

The organisations work closely with the charities Alzheimer’s Support & Alzheimer’s Society to offer this support, which lasts after initial treatment.

The spokesman said: “The combination of partnership working between AWP and the CCG has enabled a new approach to be established where the Memory Nurses are now linked to primary care and every surgery in Wiltshire has a named Memory Nurse.”

“Those nurses support GPs to enable them to complete non-complex assessments and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s dementia within primary care and to commence treatment immediately when required.

“The Memory Nurses will then take any referrals for people with more complex needs to the specialist memory service. “This approach has created a much smoother care pathway which is quicker for the service user.

“There has also been a change in the levels of funding across the country to make sure the areas which need the services most receive them.

“In recent years, the overall funding of memory services in North and West Wiltshire was significantly less than in the south and therefore the backlog was greater in the north and west, where two thirds of the overall number of Wiltshire’s older people’s population are located.

“The CCG recognised this and has worked with AWP to fund the required level of service. In April of this year, it increased its revenue funding by £400k. It also provided an additional £125k to clear the backlog on the basis that this was done by the end of August and this target was achieved.”