BGS London (20 June 2018): The British Geriatrics Society welcomes yesterday’s joint statement by the Prime Minister's Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announcing that charities and community groups will get £20 million of new funding to help people experiencing social isolation and loneliness.
Healthcare professionals now recognise loneliness as a ‘public health epidemic’ with evidence to suggest it is as bad for health outcomes as smoking 15 cigarettes a day . Older people are one of the groups most at risk. In the UK, over 1 million older adults admit they feel lonely often or all the time , a number set to increase given the changing demography.
At the Society’s conference last week ‘Loneliness in Older People and its Impact on Health’ healthcare professionals, third sector organisations and policy makers discussed scientific research relating to this issue, and shared best practice regarding prevention. The funding announced by Government will help address some of the concerns that were raised at the event, and help put into place much needed initiatives to improve quality of life and health outcomes for lonely older people across the country.
The £20 million investment to help tackle loneliness is very welcome, but is only one way of helping to improve quality of life for older people. Without increased investment, and a long term sustainable plan for the full integration of health and social care services, older people will continue see a negative impact upon their health and wellbeing.
In response to the announcement, Professor Tahir Masud, President-Elect of the British Geriatrics Society and Chair of the ‘Loneliness in Older People and its Impact on Health’ conference, commented: “The additional investment to support isolated and lonely people is very welcome. Older people are one of the groups most at risk of loneliness and social isolation, and there is clear evidence of the negative impact on their health. Tackling loneliness and isolation is one way of helping to improve quality of life but for older people it is not enough. We still urgently need to address the funding gaps in social care, and to have a long term sustainable plan for full integration of health and social care services.”
How are your services performing? The NHS Benchmarking Network offers you the opportunity to find out!
“The NHS Benchmarking Network provides a unique source of information in this key area. The joint experience of working with the Acute Frailty Network has highlighted that many of the issues relating to DToC can be overcome by early assertive holistic assessment. I strongly encourage all providers of older people’s acute care to sign up this year”
Professor Simon Conroy, Clinical Lead, Acute Frailty Network
What is NHS Benchmarking?
The Benchmarking Network works with its 330+ members to understand the wide variation in demand, capacity and outcomes evident within the NHS. It concentrates on areas that are poorly served by routine NHS statistics. Member organisations are able to take part in any of the Network’s benchmarking projects. The list of members can be found here.
Guardian (15 June 2018): List suggests no longer giving x-rays for sore backs or separate cataract operations
Patients with sore backs should no longer have x-rays, women who are on the pill should be given a year-long supply and older people should no longer get antibiotics at the end of their lives, according to new advice drawn up by doctors.
In addition, not just children and older people but everyone should take vitamin D supplements over the winter to reduce their risk of developing colds and flu, it says.
The move could prompt claims that the health service is increasingly rationing provision in order to save money. The recommendations are part of a list of 50 tests, procedures and treatments that doctors’ leaders want the NHS to stop undertaking because they say they have little or no value and in some cases harm patients.
BGS London (14 June 2018): A study published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, found that despite death rates in the UK now being much lower than in the 1990s, the relationship between higher levels of frailty and mortality remains unchanged. Reduced mortality rates in older age appear to apply to those with little frailty, while older people with higher levels of frailty are not seeing a benefit.
The study, conducted by a researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, drew their conclusions from two large studies of older people in England, conducted 20 years apart to test whether the amount of frailty has changed over time, and whether the relationship between frailty and death has changed.
Organiser: Acute Frailty Network
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BGS and RCP London are seeking clinicians with an interest in geriatric medicine to become a clinical examiner for the Diploma in Geriatric Medicine (DGM).
The DGM examination is designed to give recognition of competence in the provision of healthcare for older people. It is run jointly by the BGS and Royal College of Physicians London.
In offering doctors the opportunity to review and consider all aspects of healthcare, the DGM is aimed at any medical practitioner in the UK whose clinical practice brings them into contact with older people. This may include:
The European Academy for Medicine of Ageing (EAMA): Advanced Postgraduate Course 2019-20
The European Academy for Medicine of Ageing is an Advanced Postgraduate Course in Geriatrics.
The EAMA’s goals are to:
- Improve knowledge and skills in geriatric medicine for junior faculty members and promising candidates for future teachers in geriatrics
- Attune the attitudes and goals of future opinion leaders in geriatric medicine throughout Europe
- Establish a network among medical doctors responsible for the care of elderly persons and those responsible for student instruction
- Develop new ideas for geriatric health programmes and harmonise practices
- Encourage scientific interest in gerontology and geriatrics at local, national and international levels.
The BGS has responded to an APPG Inquiry, calling for evidence into improving access to hospice and palliative care.
Older people are less likely than younger people to be offered hospice care, even if they have cancer, and older people living with frailty are very unlikely to receive such care.
An average GP’s workload will include approximately 20 deaths per year. Of these 5 will be from cancer, 5 from single organ failure, 2 will be sudden, and 8 will be among people living with frailty and multi-morbidity, including dementia.
The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is the professional body of specialists in the healthcare of older people in the United Kingdom. Our membership is drawn from doctors practising geriatric medicine including consultants, doctors in training and general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, researchers and scientists with a particular interest in the care of older people and the promotion of better health in old age. BGS has 3,500 members who work across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means we have a strong interest in the development of a workforce strategy that meets the needs of our ageing society.
We very much welcome the commitment to a sustainable, free, universal healthcare system expressed in the consultation document.