In April 2024, the three local Healthwatch in Sussex sought experiences of the Memory Assessment Service (MAS).

The Memory Assessment Service undertakes assessments of memory problems (including diagnosis of dementia) via a thorough review of cognition and effects on functioning.

By Healthwatch in Sussex
Healthwatch in Sussex

We heard:

53 people from across Sussex shared their views with us.

– Around one quarter (26.7%) had waited or are currently waiting over 6 months for their first appointment with the MAS.

– The majority were very satisfied or satisfied (53.2%) with the information they received before their first visit to the MAS.

– People had received help from a support service such as the Alzheimer’s society (38.3%) and a named person they could phone or email (29.8%). However, 23.4% received no support.

– In terms of the recent temporary reduction of services in some areas of Sussex (from January to end of March 2024), 21.7% said it negatively affected the support that they needed and       delayed their appointment at the MAS (19.6%). However, one-third were not aware (32.6%) and 21.7% said the temporary closures had no impact.


Respondents to our poll told us they would like to see:


Simplifying the route to the MAS, without having a GP referral:

“Getting an appointment quickly. It shouldn’t be solely dependent on the GP making a referral. Ours kept forgetting to do it so I went privately and ! got the diagnosis. Then eventually got the NHS referral.”


Shortening the waiting times to be assessed by the MAS:

“A more timely assessment process – from the moment of referral to the actual appointment was too long and prevents the process of treatment.”


Regular, ongoing contact with the MAS:

“More contact with the service. Had to wait a year but having problems now.”

“Follow up clinic appointments so they can check how you are. As it is, you have to contact them by phone if you need anything. They did phone my husband a few weeks after the initial appointment, but since then nothing. Feel as if we’ve been dismissed and left to get on with it.”


In relation to the above, people would like a named contact to raise any issues with:

“A dedicated contact for someone to contact with any questions.”


Having more centralised services where all assessments and support options would be available:

“Consistency in venue for appointments would help, we have been to 4 different places for medication reviews.”


Some people took the time to pay compliments to the MAS in terms of the assessment and support received:

“I have been amazed at the support that I have received I am so grateful for this, can’t think of any change needed as I have found it perfect and can’t thank you all enough.”


In response

We have already shared the results from our poll with the Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust, who deliver the Memory Assessment Service (MAS). We received a response from their Chief Executive thanking us for the report and promising to feed the results into their new strategy, which they are currently developing and which will set their priorities for the coming years. The results will also be shared with those who are leading the MAS services.


Next steps

As the public champion for local health and care services, Healthwatch will continue to work in partnership with commissioners and providers to monitor the experiences of patients and the public in accessing health and care services locally and explore how ongoing improvements may be delivered.

We will share the attached report with East Sussex County Council, NHS Sussex, Healthwatch England and others to share this insight and encourage its incorporation into future initiatives.


Tell Us Your Experiences 

Please tell us your experiences of local health and care services via our Feedback Centre and let us know how this has been for you. 

We want to hear if it has been good, bad or indifferent.


Help and support with Health and Care 

If you need help or support related to health or care, then please contact our Information & Signposting Service via 

0333 101 4007 or 

View the report

Click the link below to download the report

Healthwatch in Sussex - Memory Advice Service Poll Results - April 2024 Download File (pdf 119.77 KB)

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