Dementia Centred

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By Peter Molyneux

September 5th, 2014

Dementia, Land and Change – New Models? (Part 1)

In  this special two-part blog DSDC Visiting Fellow, Peter Molyneux reflects on a key issue for housing and dementia

The NHS has numerous sites - we all walk past them every day. Of course, not all of them are available for use as many have already been leveraged against other schemes. However, it is worth asking how they best generate value and enable the public to receive the services they want.

Attractive New Models?

This week the former Health Minister in England, Paul Burstow MP, called for NHS land to be used to create the housing necessary to meet the needs of an ageing population. He said, "as we are living longer lives, housing with care is going to become increasingly important in helping us stay independent, happy and healthy”. He called for surplus NHS land to be used to be used to develop supported housing models that would be more attractive to older people than traditional models such as residential care. "It is vital” he said “that government wake up to this reality sooner rather than later and helps create the right incentives to ensure older and disabled people have a genuine choice when they need to move."

"Housing with care" will become more and more important, said Mr Burstow

So what change does this require?

What this means is a new operational model, a new cost model and, crucially, new responses to what the end user of services wants. Of course, the Government in England has said that it wishes to see publicly-owned land released for housing development as a way of stimulating growth. The NHS has well-established ways of disposing of surplus land that for the most part require that land is sold to those who bid the most for it. 

A key challenge then is how to make sure this land is used to support the delivery of greater integration and - in particular - for people with dementia. 

This is not just a challenge in England.  Answers to this question, which are tied into the freedoms, restrictions and opportunities open to different land-owners, lie at the heart of future policy and availability of housing in the UK. These will be explored in the second blog.