Airedale Hospital is leading the way on dementia, says health minister

Craven Herald: Dan Poulter talking to Joan Harrison, patient Hannah Moorby and local MP Kris Hopkins during a visit to Airedale Hospital Dan Poulter talking to Joan Harrison, patient Hannah Moorby and local MP Kris Hopkins during a visit to Airedale Hospital

A Government health minister said Airedale Hospital was leading the way in showing how to treat older people.

Dr Dan Poulter, accompanied by Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, visited the hospital to see how its staff gave elderly patients with dementia the help they needed.

The pair were given a tour of Airedale’s telehealth hub. The facility uses video links to communicate with patients, which means they do not have to attend hospital to be diagnosed or receive important medical advice.

The two MPs were then taken to ward six where they chatted to a patient, Hannah Moorby, and her daughter Joan Harrison.

Dr Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, worked before his election in May 2010 as an NHS hospital doctor, mainly specialising in obstetrics, gynaecology and women’s health. Speaking during his tour of Airedale on Thursday, he said the Government would be investing an extra £50 million in developing dementia-friendly environments in hospitals and care homes.

“The Government is committed to doing more to better look after older people and provide them with dignity in terms of their care,” he said.

“Today I’ve seen some really good examples of how that is being done here. In particular the Telemedicine service at the hospital is ensuring older people are being supported in their own homes. It means health warning signs can be picked up by doctors and nurses who can give advice to people who may be living in very rural communities.

“It’s a better way of caring for people who don’t need to be admitted to hospital.”

He also praised the “fantastic” work being done at Airedale to look after people with dementia.

“As a minister this is something I can take back to the Department of Health and say: ‘We need to learn from Yorkshire,’” he said.

“I’m very proud of the work that is being done here at Airedale. It has some extremely dedicated staff who are really making a difference to the quality of people’s lives.”

He added: “The big health care questions are how do we look after people with long term conditions and how do we provide dignity in the treatment of the elderly?

“It’s about a more holistic view of care. For example, if someone with dementia falls over and breaks their hip it’s not just about having their hip replaced.

“It’s about there being a whole package put in place to support them when they go home so they won’t have to be rushed back to hospital.”

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