Autumn has arrived and with it, the winds of change! I am delighted to take the reins of editorship of this newsletter from Dr Andrew Williams.
We have our final President’s Column from Professor David Oliver, with Dr Eileen Burns ready to take on the leadership challenges from November. David reflects on the highlights of his two year presidency, as he moves on to an important role with the Royal College of Physicians London. Thankfully he will continue to work with us on the many areas where the organisations collaborate and we hope that he will continue to give us the benefit of his unsurpassed talent for horizon scanning.
As you’ll have seen, this edition opens with the sad news of the loss of our colleague, Kate Granger. Ali Cracknell’s moving tribute on the front page was first published on the BGS blog and received the highest number of hits that any of our blog pieces have ever seen - a testimony to Kate’s legacy. Our coming Autumn Meeting has been dedicated to her as we celebrate her impressive achievements and hope that her legacy continues to bring humanity and compassion to patient care. These themes are also explored in our Older Person Whisperer comic strip, a regular feature that members have warmly welcomed.
An interesting foil to the issue of compassionate care is raised by one of the beneficiaries of our BGS Nursing Study Grants. Referring to the enthusiasm and idealism which tends to pervade at conferences, Hanneke Wiltjer makes an impassioned plea that we do not forget the considerable resourcing constraints which often thwart our desire to deliver ideal care.
Time and resource constraints have been with professionals caring for sick and vulnerable people for a long time, and will continue to be so. Apart from continuing to lobby for a larger share of the State Purse ,the only immediate choices open to health and social care professionals come down to working to effect improvements in the microcosm of our immediate practice, and to broadcast the evidence of these improvements at conferences and in the other fora available to us.
To this end, Caroline, our new Policy Manager, is working with the Royal College of General Practitioners to showcase examples of innovative integrated care. The prospect of overcoming our resource issues may not materialise any time soon, but the will to innovate new service models which deliver a more seamless experience for people needing health and social care is evident.
Along with Caroline’s Policy Update, we have Marina’s Communications and PR column. These are important areas where many geriatricians may not actively work and we are grateful to both for helping us to understand their work on behalf of the Society.
The Society itself is in an important phase of growth and change; our recent review has led to the identification of areas where we can improve the service to our members, and work better to achieve our strategic goals. One of the most visible results will be our new logo, coming shortly, and we hope this gives further impetus to other recent achievements. As part of this it is vital that more new blood comes into the organisation; we need members at all levels to become involved in our committees, our events, and representation of the organisation on areas of expertise. I’m really looking forward to hearing from members who are keen to come on board!