There were a number of reasons why I left NHS Forth Valley. One of those reasons was a concern that patients, often elderly, were being harmed through the misdiagnosis of dementia.
Shortly after I left I wrote to senior management seeking the following reassurance:
- that any patients that have been harmed are acknowledged and where appropriate supported in coming to terms with their mis-diagnosis,
- that practice in NHS Forth Valley now follows Scottish, UK and International guidelines on Dementia.
- that NHS Forth Valley has, as an organisation, reflected on this matter
Following a reminder I received a reply suggesting that examining comparative data would be helpful but would take some time:
Following another reminder I have now received what I take to be the final position of NHS Forth Valley on the matter. My understanding of this is that NHS Forth Valley cannot provide the reassurance that I was seeking:
I have sent the following letter to NHS Forth Valley which reiterates my ongoing concerns:
"I remain concerned about the potential for harm relating to the over-diagnosis of dementia. I understand that you are not in a position to reassure me on this in terms of patients referred to NHS Forth Valley. I would welcome it if this “could potentially be explored in the future.” I note and understand your general comments about reflection. The book “Intelligent Kindness” considers the importance of reflection not just at an individual level but also at an organisational one. I feel that it is now time to conclude our correspondence on this matter."
If anybody would wish to see the full context of the letters please contact me.