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About the BGS

The British Geriatrics Society is the professional body of specialists in the health care of older people in the United Kingdom.

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BGS Spring Meeting

Register for the Spring meeting here

Abstract adjudication results available here

Final programme available here;  Book of Abstracts available here

Which cities have the oldest residents?

Guardian: One of Tokyo’s many grey-haired taxi drivers once challenged me to guess his age. Trying to be polite, I pegged him at 64. “I’m 82”, he grinned.

Older populations are expanding faster in cities than in non-metropolitan areas in OECD countries. In Lisbon, Milan, Barcelona and Tokyo, nearly a quarter of the population are already over 65. Contrary to popular assumptions, it’s not just a problem for Japan and Europe: by 2050, the population aged 65 and over in developing countries is expected to more than triple, outpacing the global growth rate. According to the WHO, 80% of people over 60 will be living in developing countries within five decades.

In most countries, mortality fell before fertility did, creating a so-called “baby boomer” generation that was followed by generations of fewer and fewer children.In cities with slow growth this effect is acute: in Tokyo, Milan, and Barcelona, the over-65s outnumber the under-14s by a factor of around two to one. These cities could be said to be the most elderly in the world.In London – where 32% of the population is under 25 – the number of people over 60 is projected to expand by 48% by 2035, while the population of the under 60s will only increase by 12%, according to a report by the mayor’s Design Advisory Group.

David Oliver: Are we recreating the conditions that led to the Mid Staffs scandal and Francis inquiries?

BMJ Blog: I am worried that we are heading right back to the very conditions that led to the Francis inquiries, losing any progress we have gained on the back of them. In health, as in many industries, it often takes a major incident or scandal to prevent more from occurring in the future. But let’s not go back to it.

It’s now six years since the report of the independent inquiry by Robert Francis QC into events at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust from 2005-9. It’s still a powerful testimony of a hospital whose culture was broken. The report described leaders more interested in finance, targets, achieving foundation status, and strategy than operational performance; losing sight of their very human business of caring for patients and their families and becoming disconnected from the clinical shop floor.

Concerns repeatedly flagged from complaints or safety incidents were minimised and not seen as key business for the executive. The stories from patients and especially their families remain harrowing. How could anyone be oblivious? As a career NHS clinician, the accounts of frontline patient facing staff—either inured to poor care and poor leadership or feeling powerless to speak out—still shock me. Read more

Figures suggest one-in-five junior doctors worked despite strike

HSJ (behind paywall): NHS England has published figures indicating more than a fifth of the junior doctors expected at work on Tuesday showed up while industrial action was taking place.

It reported that 22 per cent of the doctors scheduled to work had done so. The British Medical Association said that figure was proportionate with the number of junior doctors it represented - approximately four-fifths of the total workforce.

NHS England said that as of 9am on Tuesday morning, 21,608 – 78 per cent – of junior doctors who were expected to be working did not report for duty, though this included other forms of absence including sickness.

The BMA said in a statement: ”Figures indicate that more or less all of those eligible to take action today did so, and are in line with the proportion of junior doctors who are members of the BMA.

Health Committee to hear evidence on impact of EU membership on health policy

National Health Executive: The UK’s EU membership will be scrutinised by the Health Select Committee today in the run-up to next month’s referendum on whether the country should remain in the European Union.

The committee will hear evidence from Professor Martin McKee CBE, president of the European Public Health Association; John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health; and Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary under-secretary for public health, this afternoon at 2.30pm.

The government is officially in favour of continued EU membership, but the latest ORB poll for the Daily Telegraph, published today, predicted the referendum will be close, with 51% of voters in favour of remaining, a drop of 1% in the past week, 46% wanting to leave, an increase of 3%, and 3% undecided.

NHE will provide full coverage from the hearing.

See also: The Royal College of Physicians is about to issue, via the next President's Bulletin, an invitation to fellows & members to submit views on the potential health implications of the EU Referendum

Support for elderly victims of abuse

ITV: A new support service is being launched today for victims of elderly abuse in Brighton.

The charity Action on Elder Abuse decided to start the service after a rise in the number of calls from the area.

Figures show that elder abuse can happen anywhere - in someone's own home, a residential home, or a hospital. Both older men and women can be at risk of abuse, though a majority of victims are women over the age of 70. More than 500,000 older people are abused in the UK each year.

There are five common types of abuse: physical, psychological, financial, sexual abuse and neglect.

Rise in care homes going out of business

Community Care: Research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens shows steady increase in number of care home providers entering insolvency

The number of care home providers going bust in England and Wales rose last year, according to research.

An analysis by accountancy firm Moore Stephens found 47 care home operators became insolvent in 2014-15, up from 40 the previous year and 35 in 2012-13.

Reductions in local authority fees and increasing property costs had piled pressure on providers, the research found. The introduction of the national living wage from April this year will add further strain on provider finances, it added.

Mike Finch, a partner at Moore Stephens, said many more care homes were being pushed to breaking point.

He said: “With funding from local authorities contributing a substantial amount to the revenue of care homes, there is understandable concern of the impact any further spending cuts would have on the sector. This is especially important as the cost of care in the UK remains high.

“Many care homes have also lost control over their increasing property costs by selling ownership of the property they occupy to an investor and then renting it back from the same investor with pre-agreed rent increases they can no longer afford.”

Trusts fear impact of junior contract on services, training and bottom line

HSJ (behind pay wall): Directors at a number of trusts have told HSJ they are anxious about the cost of implementing the contract due to higher pension costs and pay protection for existing doctors.

The news follows Labour and the Liberal Democrats calling on the government at the weekend to suspend plans to impose the contract and pilot it in some areas instead.

A senior medical source at a major London teaching hospital told HSJ initial analysis suggested some areas within the trust, such as emergency medicine and intensive care, might need to increase their establishment of doctors to maintain training and service provision.

They said: “Breaking up the night shifts and reducing the maximum hours will mean the in-hours training time will be taken up with more rest time, particularly for the specialties with intensive out of hours rotas such as emergency medicine, intensive care and obstetrics. The [intensive care] rotas are particularly badly hit, where there is already a big recruitment problem.

“To preserve in-hours training opportunities and maintain a decent in-hours service we’ll have to increase the establishment.”

Improving with age? How city design is adapting to older populations

Guardian: As cities experience a demographic shift, the need for age-friendly design is becoming ever more critical. From almshouses to driverless cars, the future of urban housing and mobility may just be shaped for and by the elderly

By 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more over-65s than children under 15. The number of people over 100 will increase by 1,000%. And as by then 70% of the world’s population will likely live in cites, this will present huge challenges, and cities will need to adapt.

In the UK, the government has just announced the building of 10 new towns designed to address ageing and health issues such as obesity. As well as encouraging more active lifestyles, the designs could include wider pavements, few trip hazards and moving LCD signs, making the streets easier to navigate for people with dementia and other age-related conditions. London-based charity Living Streets has also been working alongside communities carrying out street audits with older residents to see what improvements could be made, as well as campaigning at a strategic level to influence positive legislative and infrastructure changes. Their project Time to Cross campaigned to increase pedestrian crossing times which resulted in Transport for London (TfL) agreeing to a review.

Plugging holes in the crumbling plasterwork of GP practices

Being a GP is the most important job in Britain, says Simon Stevens; one of the most difficult jobs in medicine, says Sir Bruce Keogh; and no longer tolerable or sustainable, say many GPs. Since ‘integration’ was established as a cross-system goal in 2013 we have predicted that the reform of primary care would rise up the agenda. 

Now it has – with the publication of NHS England’s ‘GP Forward View’ and a simultaneous inquiry report by the health select committee.

In this blog, Don Redding, Director of Policy at National Voices, looks at how their proposals measure up. 

Junior doctors’ strike set to go ahead as Jeremy Hunt rejects compromise

Guardian: Hospitals are finalising plans to help them cope with 48 hours of unprecedented disruption after a last-ditch attempt by MPs to avoid this week’s all-out strikes by NHS junior doctors failed to break the deadlock between them and the health secretary.

Specialists from other hospital departments will be drafted into A&E units on Tuesday and Wednesday to help with the extra pressures caused by junior doctors’ decision to withdraw cover from emergency care areas for the first time in the NHS’s 68-year history.

Hospitals are asking patients to stay away from A&E during the walkouts, which will be staged from 8am to 5pm each day, unless it is an emergency and are bringing in consultants as cover. A total of 12,711 non-urgent operations and 112,856 outpatient appointments have been cancelled as part of determined efforts to ensure patients’ safety when there are far fewer doctors on duty than usual.

See also: New survey findings shared with the Guardian suggest that a large majority of junior doctors in England could take part in the stoppages, despite warnings from the profession’s regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC), and leading medics that their action could harm patients and wreck public trust in doctors (Guardian); Jeremy Hunt: MPs' plan to avert junior doctors' strike is opportunism (BBC)

Number of care homes going bust rises by more than a third in the last three years as national living wage is set to put more strain on the sector

City AM: The number of care homes going bust has risen 34 per cent in the last three years, according to research by accountancy firm Moore Stephens. The report found that the government’s introduction of a mandatory national living wage from April this year is set to put more financial strain on the sector as staff costs rise. The number of care home insolvencies jumped by 18 per cent, with 47 care home operators in England and Wales becoming insolvent last year, up from 40 in the previous year. According to research from the Local Government Association, the fall in local authority spending on care homes will lead to a £2.9bn annual funding gap in social care by 2020.

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