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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

First memory services achieve accreditation

Embargoed until 25 September 2009

The first wave of UK memory services have been accredited by the Royal College of Psychiatrists for their achievements in meeting best practice standards. 

Two memory service teams from Mersey Care NHS Trust - Mossley Hill Hospital’s Memory Service and Aintree/South Sefton Memory Service - achieved ‘accredited with excellence’ and ‘accredited’ respectively, after participating in the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP).

Thirteen NHS memory services based in the North West of England participated in the pilot phase of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement accreditation programme. The pilot was funded by the Care Service Improvement Partnership (CSIP) and local teams rated themselves against a set of best practice standards for the assessment and diagnosis of memory problems/dementia.

Improving services for people with dementia and their carers is a national priority. Involving memory services in continuous quality improvement initiatives, such as MSNAP, is one way to drive up standards and to guarantee that quality remains a local, as well as a national, priority.

An external peer review team, consisting of medical and nursing staff, informal care givers and people with dementia, visited each service to ensure that the service’s representation of their practice was accurate.

Dr Anna Richman, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist from Mossley Hill Hospital said: “There is a lot of work involved in going through the accreditation procedure, but it makes you stop and look at your practice and what can be improved. We have developed leaflets and information sheets for service users and carers as a result of the accreditation procedure and reviewed the support provided to service users and carers. We have looked at staff training issues, GP training issues, documentation in case notes and even the availability of Trust policies online. All of the improvements made have been received well, and some have led to changes made across the Trust - not just to our memory service. This can only benefit service users and carers.”

Dr Deep Majumdar, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist from Aintree/South Sefton Memory Service said: ““It was an excellent opportunity to evaluate our memory service against standards set by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement. Our existing practices were strengthened by recommendations made by peers and it was a useful process which has been well received by all staff. These processes will become increasingly important in the future, particularly when dealing with commissioning authorities. We aim to maintain the high standards of treatment provided by our memory service to all our patients and carers in Liverpool and Sefton.”

Professor Martin Orrell, Chair of the Accreditation Advisory Committee for MSNAP said: “With the release of the National Dementia Strategy there has never been a better time to focus on improving the quality of dementia services. This programme of accreditation will ensure that memory services in the UK retain and enhance their position as some of the best in the world.”

Due to the success of the pilot and the enthusiasm of memory services, MSNAP became available nationwide from June 2009. Forty services have subscribed to the programme so far, with the next wave of services expected to be considered for accreditation in early 2010. The Royal College of Nursing, the College of Occupational Therapists and the Alzheimer’s Society are partners on the national programme and will be joining the Royal College of Psychiatrists in recognising the important work being carried out by high quality memory services around the UK.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896



MSNAP is managed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI). The MSNAP central team are now recruiting memory services to join the national programme. Further information, including the first edition standards, can be found at


Note to editors:

Best estimates suggest that the number of UK residents with dementia stands at 700,000, with 570,000 of these living in England. Currently, the cost to the UK economy of caring for people with dementia is £17 billion a year. In the next 30 years, the number of people is expected to double, and the associated costs treble to over £50 billion per year. Memory services offer timely assessment and diagnosis for people with memory problems (including dementia) and their carers within a multidisciplinary setting. They provide a cost-effective way of increasing the number of people seen for early diagnosis and intervention and help to reduce the stigma associated with dementia and its consequences. Having an early and clear diagnosis will help to reduce the number and length of acute hospital episodes and delay the need for admission to long-term care. The pilot of the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme (MSNAP) was funded by the Care Services Improvement Partnership North West (CSIP NW).


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