Chloe French, Ian Sherriff and Leah Vincent outside the House of Commons
Chloe French, Ian Sherriff and Leah Vincent outside the House of Commons 
Two student paramedics from the University of Plymouth have visited Parliament for the launch of a major new report on dementia diagnosis.
Chloe French and Leah Vincent, who are both in their final year, attended the launch of Raising the Barriers – a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia.
The new report highlights the regional variations in dementia diagnosis across England, and suggests that the support provided to those receiving and making diagnoses should be standardised right across the country.
The students were invited to attend by the University’s Academic Lead for Dementia, Mr Ian Sherriff BEM, after he delivered an ‘inspirational’ lecture on dementia care to their cohort, highlighting the small and valuable differences they could make in their role on the front line. 
Leah Vincent, Chloe French, Sir Gary Streeter MP and Rachael Savage from Vamos theatre company
Debbie Abrahams MP, Leah Vincent, Chloe French and Ian Sherriff BEM
Alongside the report launch, they met Debbie Abrahams MP and members of Alzheimer’s UK, as well as other report contributors who shared their personal experience of dementia diagnosis. They also met Sir Gary Streeter MP, to discuss their role as student paramedics, and Rachael Savage from Vamos Theatre Company, which focuses on telling stories about dementia to reduce its stigma.  
Ian, who gave evidence to the report earlier this year highlighting the dementia-related challenges facing rural communities, is one of the UK’s leading figures in dementia research and is Chair of the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia Friendly Task and Finish group.

We feel so lucky to have had this experience, not only travelling to Parliament but also meeting figures from across the country who focus on dementia care. Ian’s lecture was so inspirational and engaging, and it really made us think ‘what can we do to help?’, so to be invited to Parliament learn more, and ultimately apply what we’ve learned in our practice, is invaluable.

As paramedics we might only be with a patient for two hours or so, but by better understanding dementia we’re well placed to give patients appropriate care, direct them to further help if necessary, and educate others on how to help.
Leah Vincent, third-year student paramedic 

Everyone knows someone affected by dementia. My grandad has dementia and, while he’s living well with it, it took him 18 months to be diagnosed. It’s not right that people with dementia have to wait so long and then, when they are diagnosed, their care can vary so much.

We need to push for their rights and ensure that they’re still treated as the individuals that they are, so this new report is so important. As student paramedics in a region with a high percentage of older people, we’re well placed to learn more and do something to improve care. Personally and professionally, we can make a difference.
Chloe French, third-year student paramedic 

While dementia is something that will touch most people’s lives, there’s still a long way to go in ensuring that care is effective and standardised across the country. This new report is another step in reaching that aim, and it was a privilege to be joined by Chloe and Leah at the report launch.

The University of Plymouth is the largest provider of healthcare courses in the South West, so by educating and empowering the health professionals of the future in dementia care, we can make an ongoing difference in the lives of so many.

Ian Sherriff BEMIan Sherriff BEM
Ian gives lectures on dementia care to a number of health programmes at the University of Plymouth

Ian Sherriff dementia champion

Faculty of Health

Exceptional clinical and academic learning, social engagement and research in medicine, dentistry, nursing, psychology and health professions.
BSc (Hons) Paramedic Practitioner more information