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David has mentioned in his column, the good fortune that our specialty enjoys in the appointment of Martin Vernon and Dawn Moody as National Clinical Director and Associate NCD for older people and integrated person-centred care.

I would like to add my congratulations and good wishes to them. NHS England has published a blog by Martin, some of which we’ve summarised here.

A few conferences ago, I overheard a colleague saying: ‘this is a good time to be a geriatrician’, and it is true. David has dealt with this issue extensively in his column below but one can’t help but notice that around political and policy-making circles, as well as among our colleagues in other specialties, there is a growing awareness of the essential knowledge-base being brought to bear by geriatric medicine, on the challenges of greater numbers of older people with multi-morbidities turning up at hospitals. See Simon Conroy et. al’s article on identifying and managing frailty at the hospital front door for evidence of this recognition.


The recognition of our specilaty is reflected in greater uptake of the BGS’s widening outreach programme. Adam Gordon, just before demitting as Honorary Secretary, set up an arrangement with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to exchange articles on topics of mutual interest, to be published in our respective newsletters. The first of these - managing challenging behaviour on the wards - forms the lead article page 1. We are looking for volunteers to write an article for the RCPsychs newsletter. The topics they have given us are: management of common medical problems, such as hypertension, or stroke disease; medicine for old age psychiatrists, and the interface between old age psychiatry and Geriatric Medicine. If anyone would like to volunteer to get something published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, please contact me by email: .

Like us, psychiatry faces pressure on their services and the frustration of community services being commissioned in a piecemeal way without proper consideration as to where they sit with other services. We have arranged a series of meetings with the Old Age Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists with a view to drawing up better guidance for commissioners and providers in the hope of achieving an more integrated approach to the physical and mental health needs of older patients.

On the subject of psychiatry, the BGS Education and Training Committee commissioned a survey on training in old age psychiatry among geriatric Specialty Registrars (STRs). The results of the survey are published here.

And speaking of better integration of health and social care, the devolved health model on which Manchester is embarking will prove an interesting experiment. We are privileged to have Matthew Macnair-Smith, Policy and Research Manager of the NHS Confederation outline the nature and the processes behind the whole issue of health devolution.

May I also remind people that later this year David Oliver will stand down as BGS President, and Eileen Burns will take up the chain of office. We are therefore looking to appoint the next president elect. We are fortunate to have three excellent candidates standing, namely Prof Tash Masud, Prof Stuart Parker and Dr Zoe Wyrko. Their manifestos, and voting facility may be found on a link from the homepage of the BGS website. You can also vote by post using the mailing address carrier which came with this issue of the newsletter. I would encourage you all to read their manifestos and cast your vote for this important office.

Andrew Williams


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