Jeremy Hunt today praised West Middlesex Hospital for 'leading the way' in dementia care after he visited its new dementia-friendly ward.

The health secretary was this morning given a tour of the ward, which had been opened by astrologer Russell Grant back in January this year.

He met staff and patients at the ward, which was specially refurbished to provide a more relaxed environment for those with dementia, and even joined in a quiz with patients.

Speaking at the end of his visit, he said: "It's incredibly impressive. This hospital is leading the way in terms of dementia care, which is something Mary (Brentford & Isleworth MP Mary Macleod) is campaigning about in the Commons.

"There are big cultural changes we need because a quarter of the people in our hospital wards have dementia and the understanding has only started to increase in the last couple of years.

"They've thought a lot about things that create a calm atmosphere for people with dementia, like the flooring, the signage and the paintings.

"These are small things which aren't particularly expensive but which if you have dementia make a big difference."

Speaking to staff at the hospital, Mr Hunt was particularly keen to ensure dementia patients and their families received follow-up care and support after leaving the hospital.

Video thumbnail, Jeremy Hunt visits West Middlesex Hospital
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Hospital representatives assured him communications between staff at the trust and community health workers had improved, although there was still work to be done.

One member of staff pointed out that it was bidding for money for extra nurses to improve the transfer of care from the hospital to the community.

Mr Hunt replied that they should tell Hounslow Clinical Commissioning Group it was 'signed up' to providing more joined-up care as part of the Shaping a Healthier Future programme for healthcare in North West London, which he had signed off.

Soothing colours, special flooring to prevent falls, and artwork by pupils from Springwell Junior School are among the touches at the ward designed to make dementia patients feel more at home.

Ms Macleod, who joined Mr Hunt on his visit, said: "It's brilliant to see West Mid is really making care of dementia patients a top priority.

"I would encourage everyone locally to look at taking some Dementia Friends training. I want to encourage the new council leader (Steve Curran) to get all his senior staff and councillors to do Dementia Friends training.

"The more people who are aware of dementia locally the better care we will be able to give to dementia patients locally in future."