A TIRELESS widower from Harrow has pushed the council into discussing dementia care at a full cabinet meeting.
Neville Hughes, whose wife Nina died two years ago, collected an impressive 3,000 signatures from supporters of Admiral Nurses, a service which supports people with dementia and their families, which was axed last year.
The two nurses who served the borough were jointly paid for by the borough’s Primary Care Trust (PCT), NHS Harrow, and Harrow Council, but there has been disagreements between the two bodies about which is responsible for the service.
After Mr Hughes presented the petition to the council last November, council leader Bill Stephenson decided in a meeting last Thursday that the issue would be discussed with the full cabinet.
In his speech, Mr Stephenson said: “The work of Admiral Nurses is clearly the responsibility of the PCT. But who cares whose responsibility it is, people just want help and are not interested in arguments between the PCT and the council.”
Mr Hughes, 81, said: “I am very pleased that it has been referred to cabinet but I am still concerned about the lack of understanding within the council about the true role of Admiral Nurses.”
The service advises family members of dementia patients and tries to prolong the time sufferers spend at home rather than in care. After NHS Harrow withdrew funding, the council said it was unable to continue as it was considered to be a health service.
Mr Stephenson said: “The problem we have with Admiral Nurses is that it is medical care and it wasn’t part of our duty to fund this and it’s possible we were in breach of our duty, so we had to stop that.
“I have deep regret that we had to cease funding it. It will now be referred back to cabinet and we are quite hopeful that they will listen to us.”
A spokesman from NHS Harrow said: “NHS Harrow has met with Mr Hughes to understand his concerns and issues in the decommissioning of the Admiral Nursing service and again with Harrow Local Authority to discuss joint future plans.”
The next cabinet meeting is on March 8, where it is hoped the matter will be discussed.