Norfolk elderly health improvements pledged

Dan GrimmerA series of improvements and changes to services for elderly people were outlined at a key meeting of the older people's forum held in Norwich.Dan Grimmer

A series of improvements and changes to services for elderly people were outlined at a key meeting of the older people's forum held in Norwich.

Representatives from NHS Norfolk, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Adult Social Services gave presentations to the forum on the issues affecting our growing elderly population.

Mark Burgis , a senior project manager for Integrating Care in Norfolk for NHS Norfolk, said the trust was working on feedback from members of the public to make changes to services.

He said: 'We asked people want they wanted and they told us they wanted better co-ordination of services and more care provided locally.

'They also said they wanted easy access to services and to information to help them.

'The objectives of this project are to increase user satisfaction, reduce the level of unplanned admissions to secondary care and better support people at home and in the community.'

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It is hoped the project will help alleviate pressure on hospitals in the county, in particular the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, which is currently suffering 'unprecedented pressure'.

At least two thirds of people in hospital are elderly and a report last year by the Alzheimer's Society revealed people with dementia stay too long in hospital.

Jo Walmsley an operational manager for the medicine for the elderly department at the N&N, explained how there was an enablement project currently going on at the hospital.

She said: 'There has been increased demand and activity recently which has affected patient care. There are a lot of elderly patients with complex needs and they change daily. It means people can stay a long time in hospital.'

A pilot project was trialled on Elsing Ward in which additional nursing, pharmacy and therapy staff were resourced for six weeks with the aim of improving care and outcomes for elderly people and creating greater patient and staff satisfaction.

There are now targets to roll this out onto other wards which will make a patient's stay better from the day they are admitted.

James Bullion, assistant director for Adult Social Services for Norfolk said: 'There is lots of change nationally and locally for older people, with day services changing, more focus on care at home and a greater need for more dementia care and housing for the elderly.

'We are seeking to find a solution so older people who desperately need certain services do not miss out.'

The forum will be accepting feedback from people attending yesterday's meeting in Blackfriar's Hall, Norwich and use it to help shape policies and changes.

More details can be obtained by visiting the forums web page at (following the links to A-Z of services, the letter N, then select Norwich Older people's Forum), or by contacting Robin Hare by emailing or calling 01603 212412.

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Call reporter Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email