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

National Audit of Dementia

Overview of the project

In 2006 the Royal College of Psychiatrists was asked by the Healthcare Commission to look into priority areas for improvement of services for people with dementia. Following a literature review and 3 round consultation exercise, the report recommended an audit of the care of people with dementia in general hospitals.


Why focus on care of people with dementia in general hospitals?

  • Up to 70 percent of acute hospital beds are currently occupied by older people and up to one half of these may be people with cognitive impairment, including those with dementia and delirium.*


  • People with dementia in general hospitals have worse outcomes in terms of length of stay, mortality and institutionalisation. *


  • The National Audit Office has estimated the excess cost to be more than £6 million per year in an average general hospital.*

* source: Living Well with Dementia: A National Dementia Strategy. Department of Health 2009

  • A scoping and consultation exercise carried out by the Royal College of Psychiatrists at the request of the Healthcare Commission found that:
  • admission to a general hospital ward is a time of high risk for people with dementia
  • admission can lead to worsening of the condition and poor outcomes in general
  • there is a need for better consistency in standards of care on general hospital wards
  • The National Dementia Strategy launched in 2009 has identified improving the quality of care for people with dementia in general hospitals as one of its key objectives.

The audit is funded by the Department of Health and has been commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).


Partner organisations

The National Audit of Dementia is a collaboration between the professional bodies for five of the main disciplines involved in providing dementia services, and one of the main voluntary sector providers of supports and services. 


Our partner organisations are:



Each of the partner organisations collaborating in the audit are represented on our Steering Group, whose role is to oversee the audit and to advise on all aspects of the project including:


  • standards
  • methodology
  • audit process
  • recruitment of services
  • reports and publications
  • liaison with other key bodies


Steering group members

  • Professor Peter Crome, Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Keele, Consultant Geriatrician, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (Chair)


  • Professor Mike Crawford, Director, Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement (from 2011)


  • Professor John Young, Head, Academic Unit of Elderly Care & Rehabilitation, Leeds University and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


  • Dr Dave Anderson, former Chair of the Faculty for Old Age Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists and Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist and Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust


  • Dr Andy Barker, Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry and Vice Chair, Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry (until 2012)


  • Professor Dawn Brooker, Director, University of Worcester Association for Dementia


  • Janet Husk, Programme Manager, Healthcare of Older People, Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEU), Royal College of Physicians


  • Kevin Stewart, Clinical Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEU), Royal College of Physicians (from 2011)


  • Geraldine Green, Policy Adviser, Alzheimer’s Society (from 2013)


  • Professor Martin Orrell, Professor of Ageing and Mental Health, University College London, Associate Medical Director, North East London Foundation Trust


  • Rachel Thompson, Dementia Project Lead, Royal College of Nursing (From 2011)


  • Dr Daphne Wallace, Living With Dementia


  • Rosemary Woolley, Research Fellow, Bradford Institute for Health Research


  • Dr Imran Rafi, Medical Director, Royal College of General Practitioners - CIRC


  • Louise Lakey, Policy Manager, Alzheimer’s Society (until 2012)


  • Dr Paul Lelliott, Director, Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Centre for Quality Improvement (until 2011)


  • Dr Jonathan Potter, Clinical Director, Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit (CEEU), Royal College of Physicians (until 2011)


  • Dr Kim Manley, Learning & Development Manager: Resources for Learning and Improving at the Royal College of Nursing (until 2010)


Promoting quality improvement

Creating a national picture of care delivery

By participating in the national audit, services will help to create a true picture of care delivery across the country. 


This will enable the Department of Health and NHS Wales to develop realistic policies and targets to support service development, based on an accurate understanding of what is happening ‘in the field’.


The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) advises that


clinicians, and their employing Trusts, should view a well designed and effective national audit programme as an essential tool for them to improve services and assess performance’.


Supporting local services

For individual organisations and services, participating in the national audit enables individual clinicians and teams to:


  • Benchmark their practice and performance against national standards and other sites participating in the national audit;
  • Identify areas in which they are performing well and areas for improvement;
  • Understand the views and experiences of those using their service.


Where next...


National Audit of Dementia,

21 Prescot Street, London, E1 8BB    

Fax: 020 3701 2761



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