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BGS President-Elect Elections 2018

In November, Professor Tahir Masud will succeed Dr Eileen Burns as BGS President. The BGS is opening the ballot to elect the next President-Elect.

The election will be overseen by the Electoral Reform Services and the ballot will close at midnight on Sunday, 10 June 2018. To vote, members are invited to vote online at the ERS website ( Members may also vote by post, using the ballot paper which will arrive with the BGS newsletter in the next 7 - 10 days (around 14th May). Both voting methods will require voters to use a unique two set Identifier number which will be printed on the last page of the ballot paper.

Instructions for voting will be included with the ballot paper.

Four candidates are standing for election. Their statements appear below:

Dr Jennifer Burns

Mr Cliff Kilgore

Dr Karen Le Ball

Dr Jane Youde


Dr Jennifer Burns

I work as a full time Consultant Geriatrician at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, appointed in 1995. I love my job and it continues to be a privilege to contribute to the care of older people. As a committed enthusiast for excellence in care of the frail older person, I have been a member of the British Geriatric Society since I was a registrar and would be honoured to serve as President elect.

Uniting 4 Nations in Policy Direction

I have contributed to the work of the society in a number of different roles over my career and most recently served as Chair of the BGS Scottish Council and was a BGS trustee from 2014 to 2016. This was at a time of modernisation of the organisation and its efforts to be more influential in policy development. As health care is a devolved responsibility for our 4 nations this can be challenging. Nonetheless we need to continue to highlight that older patients are the core business of the NHS and services must be ‘fit for frailty’.

Excellence and Diversity in CPD

My sub-specialty interest is in movement disorder, and I set up the service in East Glasgow in 2003. I continue to benefit from education and continuing professional development from the BGS Movement Disorder section. Delivering CPD is one of the key roles of the BGS, allowing us to develop high quality care and I am delighted to see the expansion of SIGs and the move to more multiprofessional events. Over my career I have been an active supporter of BGS national meetings. I was one of the organisers of the BGS national meeting in Glasgow in 2008, and then chaired the organising committee of the successful BGS meeting in November 2016 at the end of my period as Chair of the BGS Scottish Council.

Education and Training - Encouraging the Next Generation of Geriatricians

I also served for a substantial period of time as training programme director for Geriatric Medicine in the West of Scotland Deanery and ultimately served as Lead Training Programme Director in Scotland. During my period in these roles we went through the process of change involved in Modernising Medical Careers, redrawing and developing the curriculum and introducing a Speciality Clinical Exam. I still hugely enjoy teaching and training and see the BGS as the key organisation encouraging future trainees to consider and develop as expert physicians in the care of older patients.

Resilience and Support

Out-with my own specialty roles I have served as a Lead Clinician and Clinical Director. I am a consultant appraiser and work within my health authority as Deputy Secondary Care Appraisal Lead giving advice and input into decisions around the revalidation of consultant and career grade doctors. It is clear that we work in challenging times and continuing to support the development and resilience of our key staff is vitally important in promoting effective patient care.

BGS members are fantastic, committed and holistic people. I’d be privileged to work in this key role and contribute to the work of the BGS.

Mr Cliff Kilgore

Many of you will know that I have been very active within the BGS for a number of years, as chair of one of the councils, a member of clinical quality steering group and trustee board member.

I joined the BGS because, like many of you, I believe that the multi-disciplinary team is vital to improving the care of older people and this was clearly promoted in the BGS.

I have been privileged to work with like-minded professionals who have recognised how much more we can achieve through evidence-based practice that incorporates an all professional approach to the care of older people whether that involves inpatient, community or primary care.

I believe that the main reason for the great success of the BGS has been the members but success is also due to the excellent leadership by clinicians who have been committed to a high standard of professional practice and the promotion of the needs of older people. We all know that caring for older people’s health needs make up the majority of the NHS’s work and in addition to this, the longevity and complexity of older people living in the community, including care homes, has accelerated. Because of this the BGS has never been in a better place to lead the way in healthcare and continue to develop clinical practice through research, quality improvement, leadership and education including the education of trainees.

Research, education and clinical experience

My current work as clinical lead for integrated services working in Bournemouth and Christchurch has enabled me to work collaboratively with all professionals and my understanding of managing the needs of medical, allied health professional and nursing colleagues ensures a true understanding of MDT need.

I am a visiting fellow to Bournemouth University and teach on a masters programme for the care of older people and work collaboratively with other research fellows to improve knowledge on older people’s care. I have been privileged to speak about the clinical care of older people nationally and internationally, sharing the ethos of the BGS and our commitment to MDT working.

I am a realist and recognise the challenges we all face in healthcare in these times, with ever increasing complexity and financial constraints. However, I believe we as an organisation need, more than ever, to be a voice for older people and all healthcare professionals. My career as a commercial manager, NHS manager and current clinical consultant makes me a strong candidate to continue to drive forward the fantastic work of the BGS, building on the excellence and expertise of the membership and the dedication of previous and current leaders.

I appreciate that for some of you the appointment of a nurse as President may present a dilemma in voting for someone outside of your profession but I assure you I will continue to promote the standards of the BGS as well as ensuring that we continue to maintain the high standards of education, research and quality improvement of all professional groups. We all know that the comprehensive Geriatric assessment is the cornerstone of clinical practice for all of us and leading the vital MDT approach to older people’s care through the BGS would be a privilege.

Dr Karen Le Ball

I trained in Medicine at University College Hospital qualifying in 1985. I did my higher specialty training in Geriatrics between Essex and London. I also undertook a Masters in Ethics and Law at King’s College London.

I was a consultant in geriatric and general medicine in Woolwich in South East London for twenty years but moved 3 years ago to become a consultant geriatrician in the Highlands of Scotland covering the North West sector of NHS Highland (Fort William, Ardnamurchan Skye and the Small Isles). Thus I have broad experience of both hospital and community geriatrics ‘on the shop floor’, in both England and one of the devolved countries.

In addition I have also had a number of prominent educational roles culminating in 4 years as Head of School of Medicine for Health Education England (HEE) London and the South East. Thus I have practical experience of the issues facing both trainees and trainers in geriatric medicine and indeed in internal medicine more widely.

Lastly, I was one of the founder members of the special interest group in Medical Ethics at the BGS with Donald Portsmouth and held a number of administrative roles in that group including chair until 2007. I am currently chair of the UK Clinical Ethics network which supports clinical ethics committees throughout the UK and I am a member of the committee for Ethical Issues in Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians London.

I would therefore bring considerable clinical, educational and ethical experience to the role of Vice President and subsequently President to the BGS.

Current challenges facing the specialty

I believe the BGS should be concentrating on the issues below which I would make a priority if elected:

  • We have to be promote and support healthy ageing. There is accumulating evidence that exercise, and other healthy life choices, at all stages of life is beneficial and we must support this, but also ensure that when the time comes there are proper support for the patient at the end of life and support for their relatives.

  • There is too much emphasis on aging and the older population in a negative context. Ageing is inevitable and we should try to influence societal and cultural attitudes towards ageing in a more positive way.
  • There still needs to be smoother transitions of care between all care settings and we should be sharing good practice and influencing improvement practice and advising government to help to simplify the process, for example, DOLS legislation


    Geriatrics remains a specialty which under fills at recruitment. More needs to be done to encourage the best young doctors to choose the specialty. The introduction of geriatrics into the new Internal Medicine Training scheme hopefully will help this but more information of the nature of the specialty should be available at Foundation year and medical student level.


    We are very well supported by our colleagues in the roles associated with medicine and many are now members of the society. More needs to be done to encourage this collaboration and create opportunities for mutual learning.


    There needs to be a more prominent patient and relative voice and I believe this can be facilitated by work at the interface with the voluntary sector organisations.


    We must promote continuing research into the problems faced by older people and ensure that the older patient/citizen is not excluded from research projects/clinical trials.

Dr Jane Youde

I have been a consultant geriatrician in Derby since 1999 after training in Leicester and North Tyneside. Inspired by the geriatricians who have mentored, me I have strived to develop and deliver the best quality services for our patients.

This is an exciting and challenging time for our speciality, and this offers the British Geriatrics Society significant opportunities to influence and deliver the care our older patients deserve, building on previous developments. As a clinician with both acute and community hospital commitments, I understand the challenges of meeting the increasing day-to-day clinical demands on our services but believe delivering high quality services to some of the most vulnerable members of our society is an enormous privilege. The BGS should be central to guiding and supporting its members to achieve this goal.

I see a main priority for the BGS is ensuring we influence the development of innovative and evidence based solutions to allow health and social care services meet together the challenges of delivering care for our older population. I believe that frailty should be everyone’s business and would work with other organisations including the RCP and RCGP as well as other partners to guide the development of care pathways for patients across both secondary and primary care to achieve truly integrated services. I know, from experience, that we can make this work. In Derby, I played a leading role in establishing hospital-wide frailty services that enable all specialties to provide comprehensive multidisciplinary care on their base wards. I have since gone on to advocate for these approaches at a regional level and believe that my experience puts me in a good position to negotiate with other specialties on behalf of the society to develop comprehensive responses to frailty.

It is imperative the society develops strategies to encourage and retain our trainees in geriatrics and I will work with the Trainees Committee to this end. I have been a clinical and educational supervisor for my entire consultant career and have developed teaching fellowships and academic roles locally. 

I worked hard to help make space for trainees to develop as leaders in our specialty. As secretary and chair of the East Midlands BGS I worked to ensure that events met trainees needs and helped to develop a regional audit programme to engage trainees with quality assurance and improvement initiatives. These developments were well received and we have seen a significant increase in trainee engagement with the BGS through improved attendance at regional meetings since. With the trainees’ involvement, the BGS needs to lead on allowing our trainees the access to resources to develop their skills in teaching, research and leadership. We need to start to identify opportunities, to develop resources and influence funding and educational bodies.

Quality Improvement projects, audit programmes, consensus statements and best practice guidance have helped deliver improved care for our patients and enabled the Society to have an authoritative voice. I have been the chair of the BGS Falls and Bone Health SIG Committee and represent the society on the FFFAP Board. I was significantly involved in the development of Fit for Frailty guidance. I feel it is important that the BGS continues to develop quality improvement projects and statements in collaboration with other professional bodies.

I have had experience in leading and representing the BGS at a local, regional and national level. It would be a huge privilege and honour to be the BGS President and I would endeavour to deliver this to the best my ability for the membership and our patients.

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