People in Wiltshire with dementia are now diagnosed and referred to a memory clinic in less than four weeks - eight months sooner than the start of the year.

At the start of 2013 the wait was nine months, but the Wiltshire Clinicial Commissioning Group has now shaved that diagnosis and referral time.

This achievement has been made possible through a number of initiatives put in place by the CCG and its' clinical leadership, and in the south of the county, a far greater number of those with dementia are being diagnosed.

Wiltshire's GPs, now trained to diagnose dementia in primary care, and prescribe for simple cases, are supported by Memory Service nurses available at every surgery.

All nurses and healthcare assistants have been taught to look for signs of dementia during routine health checks and all GP practices in the county offer health checks.

CCG chief officer Deborah Fielding said: “Our GPs are passionate about improving dementia services for their patients in Wiltshire.

"I am delighted that through team work we have made the experience for those with dementia and their carers so much better.”

Dr Celia Grummitt is a Salisbury-based GP who has championed improvements in dementia care.

And she said: “Wiltshire GPs are really pleased that patients concerned with their memories, can now go to their local surgery for an assessment and the doctors manage that diagnoses themselves and treat those patients locally.”

The Clinical Commissioning Group supported bids from both Salisbury Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal United Hospital Bath, for funds to create dementia-friendly wards for patients being admitted with medical problems in addition to their dementia.

The Clinical Commissioning Group now wants to fund two posts to trial dementia-friendly communities within the county and is also looking to pilot a new dementia screening process.

GPs have also trialled different schemes in the north, west and south of the county to see how to get the best assistance for GPs and patients alike and are now assessing the result of these pilot schemes.

Dementia advisors have also been appointed across the county to assist patients and carers when GPs have diagnosed a patient and offer a better understanding of the situation and of the benefits and support structures that are available to them and their families.