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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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BGS Senior officers' vacancies

Expressions of interest are invited for the post of Deputy Honorary Treasurer (deadline: midnight, 28 July) and Deputy Meetings Secretary (deadline: midnight, 1 September). Click here for job description and instructions on applying.

Age & Ageing Journal

Age and Ageing  is the British Geriatrics Society’s international scientific journal. It publishes refereed original articles and commissioned reviews on geriatric medicine and gerontology.

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Vacancy: DGM Question writing group

The BGS and RCP (London) is seeking clinicians with an interest in geriatric medicine to join the question writing group for the diploma in geriatric medicine.

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Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population

Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population

In one of the most important of the King's Fund reports to be published in 2014, David Oliver, Catherine Foot and Richard Humphries set out the principles for future-proofing the UK's health care system for an ageing population. The paper is designed as a high-level resource and reference guide for local service leaders who want to improve care for older people.

Within each component of care we describe the goal that the system should aim for and then present key evidence about what we know can work, selected examples of local good practice, pointers to major reviews and guidelines, and advice about where to start.

Improving services for older people requires us to consider each component of care, since many older people use multiple services, and the quality, capacity and responsiveness of any one component will affect others. The key components we have set out in this paper are: 

  • healthy, active ageing and supporting independence
  • living well with simple or stable long-term conditions
  • living well with complex co-morbidities, dementia and frailty
  • rapid support close to home in times of crisis
  • good acute hospital care when needed
  • good discharge planning and post-discharge support
  • good rehabilitation and re-ablement after acute illness or injury
  • high-quality nursing and residential care for those who need it
  • choice, control and support towards the end of life
  • integration to provide person-centred co-ordinated care.

Within each component, we present evidence and guidance for how to provide high-quality care, with examples of local innovations. Key issues include the use of comprehensive geriatric assessment at the right time, and the effective provision of co-ordinated primary, community and social care services close to home.

Transforming services for older people requires a fundamental shift towards care that is co-ordinated around the full range of an individual’s needs (rather than care based around single diseases) and care that truly prioritises prevention and support for maintaining independence. Achieving this will require much more integrated working to ensure that the right mix of services is available in the right place at the right time.

Incremental, marginal change is not sufficient; change is needed at scale and at pace.

This paper does not aim to address the barriers and opportunities that can respectively hinder or help bring about this service transformation, although those of course exist. Instead, it aims to give local service leaders in England and beyond a framework and tools to help them examine and improve the services they provide for older people.

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