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About the BGS

The British Geriatrics Society is the professional body of specialist doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals concerned with the health care of older people in the United Kingdom.

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Sarcopenia Special Interest Group

The British Geriatrics Society has launched a new special interest group in frailty and sarcopenia. Sarcopenia has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research.

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BGS Podcasts

The BGS is creating a library of podcasts on topics ranging from the history of our specialty to dementia. Listen here.

NICE Expert Advisers

NICE are looking to identify new experts to join their panel of Expert Advisers for the Centre for Guidelines (CfG) at NICE.

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Parkinson's Academy: Moving on - 2016 Round up

As 2016 ends it is time to reflect on events from across the year – no not those events (although mentions below). I am thinking about the Parkinson’s MasterClasses we have hosted this year. Quite obviously we strive to improve year on year and evaluations of what has gone before plus needs analyses hopefully keep us fresh and relevant.

Topics: Parkinson's Masterclasses

National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE)

New Drugs

4TH World Parkinson Congress (WPC)

Stem cells

PwP doing it for themselves

 

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The BGS Trainees Council needs new representatives

Prospective candidates who want to join the BGS Trainees Council are welcome to self-nominate and invited to submit expressions of interests to for one of the five available voting positions.

Deadline: Friday, 21 April 2017

These positions are:

- Chair of trainees council (Applicant must be ST3+ and member of the BGS)

- Research & Academic development representative (Applicant must be ST3+ and member of the BGS)

- Educational events representative (Applicant must be ST3+ and member of the BGS)

- Clinical Quality representative (Applicant must be ST3+ and member of the BGS)

- Junior member representative (Applicant must be a Foundation year or core medical trainee and member of the BGS)

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'Delirium' caused by busy hospitals can trigger dementia in older patients

Reported in the Telegraph (18 January 2017): Noisy and chaotic hospitals are triggering and accelerating dementia in elderly patients, new research reveals.

Multiple transfers from ward to ward, staff coming on and off shift and confusing signage contribute to a state of “delirium” which renders patients eight times more likely to succumb to the incurable degenerative disease, the new study found.

Until recently, delirium had been understood merely as an “inconvenient side-effect” of being ill in hospital, however this new evidence points to sinister long-term consequences. The new study of almost 1,000 people aged 65 or older by University College London and Cambridge University found the preventable condition causes brain damage and is an important factor influencing cognitive decline.

Scientists behind the research said delirium is treatable and all clinical staff should be on the look-out for symptoms. “Unfortunately, most delirium goes unrecognised,” said Dr Daniel Davis, of UCL.

Fifth of new medicines to be rationed

Reported in The Times (19 Jan 2017):  fifth of new drugs will be rationed under tighter NHS cost-cutting plans, meaning that patients will suffer longer delays for medication.

Sufferers of cancer, diabetes and asthma could have to queue for treatment as health chiefs are handed powers to restrict access to medicines to save money, even if they have been ruled cost-effective by doctors. Drug companies say that they will no longer launch drugs early in Britain if bureaucrats are given power to stop them from reaching patients for purely financial reasons. 

See also: One in five new drugs could be rationed on the NHS (Telegraph

Sedentary lifestyle in older women 'ages body cells'

Reported by the BBC (19 Jan 2017):  Women who lead a sedentary lifestyle have faster-ageing cells than those who exercise every day, research suggests. 

Research on 1,500 women aged 64 to 95 found those who spent many hours sitting and exercised for less than 40 minutes a day had cells that were biologically eight years older. As people age, their cells age, causing DNA protectors to shorten and fray. But health and lifestyle factors may speed up the process, researchers from California said.

Dr Aladdin Shadyab, lead study author, from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, said: "We found that women who sat for longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day. "Discussions about the benefits of exercise should start when we are young, and physical activity should continue to be part of our daily lives as we get older, even at 80 years old."

The study is published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

See also: Sitting down for hours a day speeds up ageing - new research (Telegraph

Ageing HIV population facing a social care ‘timebomb’

Reported in GayTimes (19 January 2017): A report released today has revealed that currently one in three people living with HIV are over 50, compared to one in five in 2011.

Uncharted Territory, the Terrence Higgins Trust report, captures how underprepared the social care sector is for an aging population of people who are HIV positive. The trust surveyed 240 older people living with HIV and found that 58% are living in poverty, 82% experience moderate to high levels of loneliness and 82% are concerned about whether they’ll be able to find adequate social care in the future.

A worrying 25% of respondents said they would have nobody to help them if they needed assistance with everyday tasks. Advances in HIV treatment mean that people are living longer than expected and the system is unequipped to care for them.

Ian Green, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust said: “As it stands, our welfare, health and social care systems are simply not ready for this and we could see a timebomb in the years to come.

Stretched NHS and social care 'needs more money pumped in to ease pressure'

Reported in the Mirror (18 Jan 2017) : Ministers will be forced to pump more money into the stretched NHS and social care, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals warned yesterday. 

Sir Mike Richards outlined the scale of the crisis gripping the health service and demanded more money to ease the pressure. He told the BBC : “You can’t go on doing more and more with only the same funding. “I believe the Government is going to need to put more money in over time. What we need to do when that does happen, as I hope it will, is to use it wisely. There have been previous occasions when money has gone into the NHS when it has not been used wisely.”

The Government insists it is injecting an extra £10billion into England’s health service. But MPs have said it is more like £4.5billion, while NHS boss Simon Stevens has accused Theresa May of “stretching it” when she claims the service got more cash than it asked for.

More patients of all ages are attending hospitals, not just OAPs, piling pressure on doctors, nurses and wards, Sir Mike said.

NHS will need £88bn extra by 2067, says OBR forecast

Reported in the Guardian (17 January 2017): The NHS budget will need to increase by £88bn over the next 50 years, meaning governments could have to raise taxes or cut spending in other areas to fund it, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said. 

The soaring costs threaten to render public finances generally “unsustainable”, according to the OBR’s latest fiscal sustainability report. It says the government could find it hard to deliver on its pledge to balance the budget during the next parliament.The NHS’s budget will need to increase from £140bn in 2020-21 to about £228bn by 2066-67 in order to keep pace with the rising demand for healthcare, according to the OBR’s projections.

It says the budget will need to rise by an average of 2% each year over that period – much more than the 1% annual rises the NHS has had since the coalition took office in 2010, but barely half the 3.8% annual real-term rises it has seen since 1978-79.

The rising costs of providing healthcare in coming decades could force ministers to increase the proportion of GDP going into health from the 6.9% expected in 2020-21 to 12.6% by 2066-67. That 12.6% would equate to about £228bn in today’s prices, the OBR confirmed. 

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrats’ health spokesman, said: “This analysis confirms that spending on the NHS and on care services will either have to rise significantly or the system will collapse. We will see an end to the NHS as we know it.“Current levels of care cannot be sustained with the fall in real-terms spending per person which is currently envisaged.”

The NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has said that under the government’s current spending plans, per capita health funding will fall in real terms in 2018-19, the year the NHS will turn 70.

Last September the OBR set out how the growing number of older people in coming decades would oblige governments to spend more on healthcare, though it did not say how much more.

Its latest figures detail how much will be needed in light of three factors it did not analyse then: the emergence of new technology that will boost patient care, the development of new drugs and a rise in the number of people with chronic long-term conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.

PM Theresa May responds to Select Committee Chairs' Call for cross-party agreement on health and social care funding

[13 January 2017]: Prime Minister, Theresa May, has responded to a call from the three Select Committee Chairs, Sarah Wollaston MP (Health Committee), Meg Hillier MP (Public Accounts Committee) and Clive Betts MP (Communities and Local Government Committee) for a cross-party agreement on health and social care funding. Prime Minister May acknowledges the pressures on social care services and says:

"However, more money is not the only answer. There is variation in performance across the country that cannot be explained by different levels of spending, with half of social care delayed discharges in just 24 local areas. In the medium-term we need to make sure that the health and care system learns from the best

performers to raise standards across the system.

Nevertheless, if we are going to give people the reassurance they need in the longer-term that their social care needs will be met, we must find a sustainable system of social care for the future. This Government has committed to doing that.  

You rightly point out that there have been several reports, commissions and cross-party talks over many years, so rather than another review, I am keen to take action. Obviously we will want to discuss any proposals that are brought forward and for Parliament to be engaged." [Read the letter here]

Calls for Prime Minister to begin cross-party process on health and social care

 

Reported on Independent Ageing (11 January 2017): Theresa May must urgently begin a cross-party process to find a long-term solution to the current crisis in health and social care funding. That’s the call in an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by 75 organisations and leading voices in the sector including Independent Age, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Care England, Patients Association, Royal College of GPs, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE), Leonard Cheshire Disability, Marie Curie and RNIB. The letter warns that “2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked” and that unless the Prime Minister takes “a bolder approach millions of older, ill and disabled people and their carers will continue to be badly let down.”

This builds on calls last week from three Select Committee Chairs, Sarah Wollaston MP (Health Committee), Meg Hillier MP (Public Accounts Committee) and Clive Betts MP (Communities and Local Government Committee) for a cross-party agreement on health and social care funding.

The joint letter from organisations across the health and social care sector is published on the day that Norman Lamb MP launches a group of MPs calling for a cross-party approach on health and social care funding. Today’s letter adds the voice of significant charities, organisations and leading voices working in health and social care to those of MPs, and sets out what kind of a cross-party agreement should be sought.

Sign the petition supporting this call for action

BGS members recognised in The Queen's New Year's Honours List

BGS Communications (10 January 2017): We are pleased to report that several BGS members have been recognised for their achievements and service in The Queen's New Year's Honors List.

Professor Paul Knight, Past President of both the BGS and European Union Geriatric Medicine Society and Associate Medical Director NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was awarded the OBE in recognition of his services to geriatric healthcare.

Dr Vicki Goodwin, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, was awarded the made MBE in recognition of her services to physiotherapy. 

Professor Deborah Sturdy, a Nurse Adviser Care England and member of the BGS Nurses Council, was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List for services to older people, dementia care and nursing. Deborah has worked with older people throughout her career and has held a number of positions including posts in practice, research, management and policy. She is a passionate advocate for older people, and people with dementia, and has been instrumental in developing a number of initiatives to promote good care practices across the speciality. She was awarded the BGS President's Medal in 2011.

Dr Andrew Naylor, a GP on the Isle of Harris, was awarded an MBE for services to healthcare in the Western Isles in The Queen's Birthday Honours List. Andrew is the permanent doctor at a single-handed GP practice based in Leverburgh that was featured in the BBC Alba documentary 'An Island Practice/Slàinte na Sgìre'. The award recognises his commitment to medical services for approximately 600 patients, a third of whom are over the age of 65, in the South Harris community. 

Commenting on the awards, BGS Chief Executive Colin Nee said:

"The recognition given to these splendid role models in the care of older people is extremely welcome – and what a great way for the BGS to start its 70th anniversary year. We would like to congratulate Vicki, Paul, Deborah and Andrew upon receiving these exceptional awards. We are delighted that four BGS members from different disciplines have been honoured in the same year. This is wonderful reflection of the multi-disciplinary nature of our Society and a testament to the vital work of our members."

Prime Minister must find consensus on health and social care

Reported on www.parliament.uk (11 January): Theresa May must urgently begin a cross-party process to find a long-term solution to the current crisis in health and social care funding. That’s the call in an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by 75 organisations and leading voices in the sector including Independent Age, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Care England, Patients Association, Royal College of GPs, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE), Leonard Cheshire Disability, Marie Curie and RNIB. The letter warns that “2017 simply cannot be another year where these huge issues are ducked” and that unless the Prime Minister takes “a bolder approach millions of older, ill and disabled people and their carers will continue to be badly let down.”

This builds on calls last week from three Select Committee Chairs, Sarah Wollaston MP (Health Committee), Meg Hillier MP (Public Accounts Committee) and Clive Betts MP (Communities and Local Government Committee) for a cross-party agreement on health and social care funding.

The joint letter from organisations across the health and social care sector is published on the day that Norman Lamb MP launches a group of MPs calling for a cross-party approach on health and social care funding.

Today’s letter adds the voice of significant charities, organisations and leading voices working in health and social care to those of MPs, and sets out what kind of a cross-party agreement should be sought.

Petition here

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