HEALTH bosses have announced a major shake-up of dementia care in Lancashire.
They say with the number of people in the county with the condition expected to rise to more than 25,600 by 2025, action is needed now to find the best way to provide care for the future.
Blackpool has 2,406 people currently living with the illness.
It is claimed less people need inpatient services for dementia, with the development of community teams providing more support for people at home.
A series of consultation meetings will take place throughout January for the public to ask questions and give their views.
There are two options proposed which health bosses say aim to “deliver enhanced care and better access”.
Option one would see one in-patient unit, of 30 beds, based at a new mental health facility The Harbour, to be built at Whyndyke Farm – costing £4.2m a year to run. Extensive community services would be provided.
The second option, would see two units set up – one at The Harbour and the other in Blackburn, providing a total of 40 in-patient beds, with reduced outside services.
This option would be more expensive, costing £8m a year to run, but would mean less travel for patients in areas like Preston and East Lancashire.
Dementia care currently provided at Lytham Hospital would be transferred to Blackpool when the building was complete.
Health bosses say existing in-patient facilities are not “fit for purpose”.
Janet Soo-Chung, chief executive of NHS Lancashire, said: “The amended services must be able to cope with this future increase.
“By using the expertise of other mental health experts and engaging with people outside the NHS, we aim to achieve a high quality network of specialist dementia services.”
Dr Amanda Thornton, clinical director for adult community services at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, added: “A huge amount of investment has already been made into developing community teams to enable people to be cared for in their home, which means fewer people with dementia require hospital admission.”
The move has been welcomed by Fylde MP and dementia campaigner Mark Menzies.
He said: “This consultation shows the NHS taking a proactive approach to dementia services, which will be a growing priority throughout the Fylde coast because of our large elderly population.”
The first consultation meeting on the Fylde coast will take place on January 10, 6pm until 8pm, at the Education Centre, Blackpool Victoria Hospital.