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NHS Education for Scotland

A skilled and sustainable workforce for a healthier Scotland

Driving Improvements in Specialist Dementia Care

Driving Improvements in Specialist Dementia Care

Driving Improvements in Specialist Dementia Care

On the 26th February, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) launched its report, Driving Improvements in Specialist Dementia Care’ at a national celebratory conference and workshop in Clydebank.

The report highlights the achievements of 121 participants from three cohorts of the NES Dementia Specialist Improvement Lead (DSIL) programme between 2014 and 2020.Through case studies and personal reflections participants demonstrate how the programme has equipped them to drive and effect changes and improvements that support the transformation of specialist dementia care in Scotland.

Some of the main themes emerging from the report include:

  • The value participants attribute to learning new approaches, tools and techniques such as appreciative enquiry, improvement methodologies and experiential learning,
  • The ability and confidence to apply knowledge and skills acquired to improve patient care through changes in practice, developing new services or improving the patient journey and experience
  • A fresh perspective on their leadership role, inspiring and empowering others and leading by example
  • An appetite for cascading knowledge and skills to support team development
“The programme has shown the value of bringing people from various disciplines and sectors together to share learning and experiences and to grow from that. What we’re seeing from participants is tangible evidence of positive improvements in the lives of people with dementia, their families and carers.”

Susanne Forrest, a member of the NES team behind the DSIL programme

“Alzheimer Scotland has been extremely privileged and proud to work in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and local NHS Boards to support the understanding, transformation and ongoing improvement of specialist dementia care in hospitals throughout Scotland. The levels of engagement and commitment from all those who have taken part in the Dementia Specialist Improvement Lead programme over the past several years has been truly remarkable.

Henry Simmons, Chief Executive of Alzheimer Scotland

“At a time when our Health and Social Care system is under such significant pressures, with multiple demands, I continue to be inspired by all those highly-skilled individuals who are making such positive changes in the critical practice areas where they operate, to help improve the experiences of people with dementia and their families.”

Read the report in PDF: Driving Improvements in Specialist Dementia Care Report [PDF].


The DSIL programme represents the Expertise Level of the Promoting Excellence knowledge and skills framework. It further develops participants’ knowledge and skills in a range of specialist areas of dementia practice and includes development opportunities in leadership, change management, practice development and quality improvement. The programme also enhances participants’ ability to work in partnership and facilitate learning in others to support improvements in the care and support for people with dementia and their families and carers.

February, 26 2020