Campaign helps save dementia services

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating a U-turn over plans to close care services for Alzheimer’s disease sufferers across rural North Yorkshire.

A petition calling for a re-think over a planned overhaul of day care services across Hambleton and Richmondshire was handed in to County Hall last week.

Campaigners collected more than 1,000 signatures to urge the commissioning bodies – North Yorkshire County Council and NHS North Yorkshire – along with the Alzheimer’s Society to think again about the proposed changes to provision.

Now in the face of the growing pressure the county council has announced that the Alzheimer’s Society has agreed not to push ahead with any proposed closures.

The local authority has also said it will be maintaining funding levels of £275,000 and has pledged a further £50,000, while NHS North Yorkshire and York will also continue to contribute more than £145,000.

County councillor Clare Wood, North Yorkshire’s executive member for health and adult services, said: “Following a meeting, the county council is pleased to announce that we will be working together with the Alzheimer’s Society and the NHS to maintain all of their existing day services including those in Stokesley and Great Ayton.

“We invest a significant amount in the Alzheimer’s Society to support people with dementia and we want to make sure users continue to enjoy a range of services best-suited to their needs.”

A county council spokesman stressed that it has been particularly concerned that all existing day services should continue if users and their families wish them to do so.

The review had been announced amid growing pressure on services as the county slants towards an ageing population.

It is predicted that by the year 2020, people aged 65-and-over will represent 25 per cent – equivalent to one in four – of North Yorkshire’s population.