Steve Amos provides a recap of the DAA Devolution Event

The National Dementia Action Alliance was held at the Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester. This was an amazing, challenging, dynamic and passionate event, looking at how Devolution from Central Government the Northern Powerhouse, specifically, Greater Manchester will impact on those living with dementia. The array of quality communicators included people living with dementia, professionals, collaborative partnerships and those providing the policy context.

Chair, Alex Whinnon was extremely impressive in keeping the event and speakers on track. No mean task considering the number of speakers involved at this event. Alex introduced the Devolution Agenda and outlined the issues giving a balanced argument. His ethos was positive and he presented pragmatic approach to making Devolution work for Greater Manchester and people living with dementia. Having written this Blog after a leave vote, we will wait in anticipation for any consequences for Devolution.

Recently I listened to James Wharton (Conservative MP for Stockton South) who I believe is the Minister responsible for the process, clearly say that new money will come into the transfer of responsibilities?

The key theme of the debate during the NDAA event asked,

“Is this process simply a shifting of responsibility, accountability and money in order to alleviate the role and responsibility of Central Government in the current climate or is it an amazing opportunity for Greater Manchester to take control and create choice and services for local people through meaningful partnerships with local people living with dementia?”

The situation of Leaving Europe and Devolution in Greater Manchester seems to have synthesis. Both situations bring uncertainty. It has been said many times that. in times of uncertainty, we can become stronger, gain resilience, develop a creativity and innovation that we have not experienced before and we can become sharper in our thinking. “There is a decision to make but there is only one rational choice”.

Rachel Volland presented a new model for Greater Manchester. Rachel informed us that Dementia United will oversee the strategic change and implementation of the devolved responsibilities. Without doubt, this will require strong and wise leadership. There are many fingers in this pie and how this is managed will be fundamental to how successful Devolution would be. There appeared to be room at the table for those living with dementia so this was pleasing to hear. With the predicted number of people diagnosed in the next 20/30 years, the Devolution model has to be able to react to changing need and be able to flex one way and another.

It would be unfair of me to single people out on the day but I will anyway. I had not met Paul Thomas prior to this event but I thought he spoke eloquently, with knowledge and wisdom. His communication was clear and understandable and he certainly managed with his style, to touch my heart and mind.

Joy Watson co-presented with Paul and she brought a complimentary style and approach. Joy provided a positive and can do attitude to Devolution and stressed the need for people living with dementia to be embedded into the collaborative process in terms of being ‘listened’ to and being part of the decision making. Joy talked about her new job and shared her belief e.g. that people living with dementia must be seen as valued and making contributions as employed people for as long as can be.

The journey will only tell but this event felt like the rest of England had some catching up to do with Manchester and the North. I came away from the event energised. Well done to all concerned, including the NDAA Secretariat who do a fantastic job.

Steve Amos – Head of Dementia Services – Avery Healthcare

© National Dementia Action Alliance 2021. All rights reserved

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