ONE of the UK’s leading mental health organisations has commended the exemplary practice of dementia support services in North Wales.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the professional body responsible for raising standards in psychiatry, has awarded a new quality mark to the memory services provided by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).

Last year, BCUHB retained its status as the only health board in Wales to have memory services which have been fully accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The award is given in recognition of exemplary practice across key areas identified by mental health professionals, and following feedback from service users, carers and GPs.

BCUHB’s three memory services have now added to this success by being awarded a Sustainable Mental Health Service Commendation.

The new quality mark has been introduced by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to recognise services which successfully empower patients and carers to manage their own mental health; eliminate wasteful activity; make use of low-carbon alternatives; and empower staff in their daily work.

The three memory services, which cover Gwynedd and Anglesey; Conwy and Denbighshire; and Wrexham and Flintshire, provide an assessment and diagnostic dementia service for people who have early onset of memory problems, and a wide range of person centred support following diagnosis.

The service is delivered in hospitals, GP surgeries and patients’ homes by a multidisciplinary team which includes mental health nurses, occupational therapists, healthcare support workers, consultant psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

There are thought to be more than 11,000 people in North Wales who are living with dementia, with one in fifteen people over the age of 65 years affected.

Sean Page, consultant dementia nurse with BCUHB said the new quality mark demonstrated that memory services in North Wales met the highest national standards. He added:

“This new quality mark should give the people we serve further confidence that they will receive really high quality care and support when they come in to contact with our services.”

Rhian Russell-Owen, manager of the Gwynedd and Môn Memory Service, said:

“We are delighted to receive this unexpected recognition from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and I am extremely proud to be working as part this small, but dedicated team of clinicians who continually put patients at the centre of everything they do.”

Paul Edwards, manager of the Conwy and Denbighshire Memory Service, said:

“It’s been a real team effort to get to this point, and we are looking forward to continuing to work together to drive further improvements and developments in our service.”