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BGS Policy Review - November 2014

Patricia Conboy, our new Policy Manager, joined the staff of the British Geriatrics Society at the end of September. She introduces herself and outlines her perspective on the Society’s policy priorities.

It is an exciting time to take up a new post as Policy Manager with the British Geriatrics Society. The outcome of current policy debates about choices facing health and social care systems across the UK will have a direct bearing on the quality of health care available to older people now and in the future.  The BGS has a clear set of policy priorities on which it is already advocating strongly with policy-makers and decision-makers to influence these debates. 

My role is to lead on raising BGS’s profile and influence among decision-makers and opinion-formers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to co-ordinate BGS’s policy function and to ensure that we are well positioned in relevant policy streams. It is a challenging role but one that I am already enjoying, buoyed by the support and help I’ve received from the Chief Executive and colleagues on the BGS team since starting the job. I have come to the BGS from Ireland. My specialism is age policy and I have previously worked in age policy research, analysis, advocacy, campaigning and leadership roles with the National Council on Ageing and Older People, a statutory organisation, and Older & Bolder, an alliance of NGOs campaigning for the rights of older people. The timing of the recent Autumn Meeting in Brighton was fortunate since it gave me both an introduction to the wealth and quality of professional experience of the BGS membership, and insight into some of the issues arising in geriatric medicine in different parts of the UK.
My immediate priorities as Policy Manager include the development of BGS’s action plan for the forthcoming General Election. Watch out for a progress update in the next issue of the newsletter.

I am particularly looking forward to working closely with the four BGS Councils and I will be meeting with members in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales early in 2015. During these early months, I am also doing the groundwork for the preparation of BGS’s policy strategy and plan of action, based on the Society’s four policy priorities. These are: (1) the provision of high quality care for older people in hospital; (2) the integration of care across primary and secondary, health and social care systems; (3) workforce, skills and training to ensure that all those providing care to older people with frailty, dementia, or complex co-morbidities are suitably trained; and (4) showcasing, spreading and implementing evidence-based best practice in the clinical care of frail older people, and in effective service delivery.

In the short time I’ve been with BGS, I’ve seen that the expertise, involvement, and support of officers and members is, and will continue to be, core to the effectiveness of any policy advocacy that we undertake. I look forward to our collaboration and to working with you in the months to come.

Patricia Conboy
BGS Policy Manager

Tel: 0203 747 6940

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