Marjory Warren would be pleased to see that geriatric medicine has gone from strength to strength since she established the principles. We are now the largest medical specialty in the UK and places on our training scheme are highly sought after.
Rather than resting on our laurels, geriatricians are open to evolving where necessary to ensure we provide excellent quality, holistic care. The concept of frailty has assumed a leading role recently, driving much research effort and now probably characterises the specialty more than any other aspect. I think most of us believe that is a positive development and that frailty provides a useful focus for service development. But is frailty definitely taking us in the right direction?
We try to encourage healthy debate here in the newsletter so in order to allow our beliefs to be challenged we have launched a new column called “Speaker’s Corner”. This issue sees BGS Vice President for Research Prof Steve Parry ask “The Frailty Industry: too much too soon?”
The piece triggered a huge response when published on the blog in recent weeks, becoming our most commented on blog ever. Despite eliciting many diverse opinions the discussion remained good natured! We even received two full blogs in response to Steve’s observations and we also include those here. If you have an idea for a speaker’s corner focus, please get in touch on !
I was very pleased that Frazer Anderson became our acting deputy honorary secretary in May. Frazer is of course, well known to many of you and brings great experience that will strengthen the Society. Just prior to his appointment, I had written a blog outlining what the role involves as part of our series giving an insight into the work of the office holders and committees of BGS. In this issue, president Eileen Burns gives us an in-depth description of her first year in that role (page 8). Look out for further blogs and newsletter articles to follow and as vacancies come up, please consider standing for these posts.
At the Spring Meeting in Newcastle I was part of a panel discussion on CGA and a major theme was how we can increase access to it, despite a shortage of geriatricians. As always we work as part of a multidisciplinary team and many health professionals now possess specialised knowledge, skills and experience needed to address the needs of older people. We invited some of them to write about their training, and the opportunities available for those interested. Claire Barker leads the feature with her article on the Consultant Practitioner Trainee Programme specialising in frailty.
Geriatricians have a reputation as great teachers but what do our medical students think of a placement with us? We are delighted to hear from Jack Whitney who has submitted his “3 Golden Rules” in the form of a comic strip – under the tutelage of regular contributor Dr Muna Al-Jawad. Page 10 leaps out with enthusiasm!
Though many of us have jobs that involve a community role, it’s still refreshing to hear about initiatives outside of the hospital setting that we can recommend to our patients. Falls services vary by area but some are now very successful. We hear about “Falls Prevention” classes in the village of Fulbourn.
Having done two years of my training part-time, I know exactly what the financial challenges are for anyone in this situation. Thankfully more and more organisations are realising what needs to be done to support our part time trainees and it is finally possible to cut hundreds of pounds from your bills, including BGS subs! Nicola Lochrie has the moneysaving tips.
Finally, excitement is building over the first BGS Autumn Meeting in London for over a decade. Outgoing Honorary Meetings Secretary, Dr Khai Lee Cheah gives us the rundown on what to expect, including dinner on the Thames and the new BGS Fringe. I do hope to see many of you there, at my final meeting as Honorary Secretary.
Shane O’ Hanlon