Pharmacy leads the way in dementia diagnoses

Margaret Hook and staff at Banwell pharmacy.

Margaret Hook and staff at Banwell pharmacy. - Credit: Archant

A PHARMACIST in Banwell has been taking part in pioneering work to help people suffering with dementia.

Margaret Hook, who has been a pharmacist at Banwell Village Pharmacy since 1997, has presented her work to experts from across the country at a conference in London.

She was asked to share her findings of a project which was designed by Avon Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), as the team at Banwell was selected as one of the pharmacies to pilot the scheme.

Staff were given special training on supporting people with memory problems, to see if the pharmacy could be a source of information as an alternative to going to the GP.

Staff asked customers if they had memory problems and if they would like to take part in the service, before carrying out a cognitive test to let people know if they showed early signs of dementia.

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They spoke to 64 patients about their memory, tested 16 people and six showed signs of the illness.

Margaret said: “Avon LPC was running a project to see whether pharmacies were suitable places where patients felt comfortable talking about their memory and to offer support and information to people who may have dementia.

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“Of the people we tested only three of them had previously spoken to their GP about their memory.”

Margaret was asked to talk at a dementia conference organised by the King’s Fund, an independent charity working to improve health care by carrying out research and sharing best practice advice.

The conference, which took place on March 17, had guests including representatives from the Royal College of GPs and the English Board of Pharmacy.

Margaret said: “They asked me to attend a conference where they were announcing closer working with GPs and pharmacists to improve patient care. Pharmacists are now doing some of the work that GPs were doing in the past.”

It is hoped that the memory service will be commissioned in other areas.

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