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BGS communications update

It has been an exciting few months for media and communications activities at the BGS, both in terms of ongoing press coverage, and developing our plans for upcoming campaigns in 2015.

Fit for Frailty Part 2
Our major new guidance on commissioning services for older people with frailty in community settings, Fit for Frailty Pt. 2, was launched on January 14th. Even before the public launch date, we had seen several hundred downloads of the guidance from a limited pre-launch campaign and press release, and lots of positive feedback on the contents of the guidance itself.


As you’ll have read elsewhere in this newsletter, Fit for Frailty Pt. 2 provides guidance on recognising frailty as a long term condition, how to identify those who are frail and assess its severity, the kind of services we need to provide to support them and the education, the knowledge and skills staff might require, and the importance of ensuring that the patient and their family are at the heart of care planning. 

Dr Gill Turner wrote a large comment piece for Commissioning Monthly, and a jointly-written opinion piece from Prof David Oliver and Dr Eileen Burns ran in the HSJ (behind paywall). 

You can help publicise the campaign by telling your colleagues and contacts about the guidance: it’s a substantial and incredibly useful piece of work, and will be invaluable to anyone involved in commissioning.

BGS Elections Manifesto
The other major communications project we worked on related to the general election, and the second BGS pre-election call to the incoming government - the first having been developed in 2010. 

As you’ll see from Patricia Conboy’s policy update, we’re urging the government to take six key decisions to improve the care of older people. In doing so, we’re not just posing a challenge and raising awareness of the issues, we’re offering our expert guidance to help politicians make better care a reality.

Our outreach strategy has a number of aims. Firstly, we want to expand our profile in the political world, through direct contact with political decision-makers: we’ll be meeting with politicians, think-tanks, and policy teams, building relationships with them and making them aware of the crucial work BGS members are doing.

Secondly, we’ll be using those connections after the election to strengthen our influence on the political debate: we’ve been careful not to simply issue a list of demands, but to provide a clear roadmap for politicians to improve care for older people, informed by the experience of geriatricians around the UK.

Finally, we’ll be using the election to build wider understanding of our work and the challenges facing older people amongst the public and media. In all of these areas, we are only as strong as professionals we work with: if you have insights or ideas on political issues, whether nationally or more local to you, please contact us!

Of course, amongst all this our usual media work has continued apace: Dr Eileen Burns featured on BBC Breakfast discussing older people’s health, and we’ve been quoted in the Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times and Daily Mail over recent weeks. 

We’ve responded publicly to the National Audit of Intermediate Care, the NHS England Five Year View, and the HSJ Commission on Older People, being picked up in news coverage for each, and placed a comment piece by Dr Viveca Kirthisingha in the HSJ on the back of her presentation at the Autumn Meeting.

The BGS blog continues to be widely-read, covering everything from geriatric medicine in  New Zealand to empowering allied health professionals, the use of microneedles, and what geriatricians get up to in their spare time! 

We’re always looking for new ideas, so please feel free to email me if you’d like to blog for us: this could be anything from a great pilot at your hospital, to a piece of research you’ve worked on or just a particular issue you feel strongly about.

Ed Gillett
BGS Communications Manager

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