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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Education at CDS


Kent, Surrey and Sussex has the oldest ageing population of any UK region. The number of people aged 65-84 will increase by 33% and those aged 85+ will double by 2030. Regionally, the numbers with dementia are forecast to grow by up to 50% by 2030.

Dementia was identified as a priority area for the Health Education England working across Kent Surrey and Sussex (HEE KSS) - Skills Development Strategy (SDS), following public consultation with providers of NHS care, patients and carers. The essential contribution of education and training to improving the quality of care for people with dementia and their carers was recognised, together with the need to develop an education and training strategy that aligns with service needs. The SDS in Dementia Care complements the requirements of Health Education England’s (HEE) refreshed national mandate (April 2014), which details the government’s objectives for workforce planning, health education and training and development.

The HEE KSS SDS Dementia Care Programme is led and managed by the Centre for Dementia Studies. The programme aims to develop and deliver the skills needed by healthcare staff to enable people with dementia and their families to lead a good quality of life. To achieve this, regional stakeholder events were held during 2013/14 and, as a result, the following workforce development themes have been identified.

Download the 'Developing Skills' flyer >

Theme 1: Empowering families and carers

Consultation with families and carers has reinforced the need for training to support early diagnosis and highlighted the potential for training to enable staff to empower families and carers to support safe, dignified and compassionate care. 

HEE KSS is commissioning an innovative, regional training programme for memory assessment service staff with the aim of empowering families and carers to develop skills and enhance their resilience to better care for a person with dementia.

Theme 2: Empowering practitioners in training

Medical, nursing and paramedic students at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and the University of Surrey have, as part of their curriculum, visited a person with dementia and their family at least three times a year for two years of their training. Learning has also been be consolidated through individual reflection and group work, and an inter-disciplinary stakeholder conference.

This initiative called ‘Time for Dementia’ is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, Sussex Partnership and Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trusts has provided a unique longitudinal experience for students of what it is like to live with dementia. The evaluation has been assessing a range of outcomes and experiences for students, individuals with dementia and their families, and results will be available in March 2018.

Download the Time For Dementia flyer >


Theme 3: Empowering professionals in practice

The dementia fellowship develops both clinical and leadership skills to drive forward best practice, service improvements and quality of care for patients. 

Over 80 healthcare professionals including GPs, practice nurses, emergency care doctors and nurses, pharmacists and allied health professionals are already taking part in the modular programme and joining a network of dementia fellows taking specialist skills in dementia back to their local areas to enable positive change such as:

  • Supporting early diagnosis and improving working practices in primary and community care
  • Enhancing patient and carer experiences in acute and emergency hospital settings
  • New approaches to better manage pain, nutrition and medications
  • New support and care for people experiencing memory problems

The following programme has developed into the Kent Surrey and Sussex Dementia Care Improvement Network. A webpage for the KSS DCIN will launch in September 2019.

Read the Evaluation Report here >

Theme 4: Empowering care homes

Consultation with health and social care providers has indicated the need to strengthen leadership in dementia within nursing homes in order to improve care pathways and the quality of patient care.

HEE KSS is working with regional providers to develop, deliver and evaluate innovative leadership training for healthcare professionals within this sector.

Foundation level dementia awareness training

Over the last three years, more than 32,000 patient-facing staff working in primary, community and acute care within Kent, Surrey and Sussex have strengthened their dementia knowledge, awareness, communication and person centred care skills by participating in localised or online dementia training.

Free online training is available at and