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BGS Policy update - June 2017

This time last year we were all wondering what the outcome of the referendum on remaining or leaving the European Union would be, and how it would impact on the health service in the UK. Now, a year later, at the time of writing, we are fast approaching a General Election and we have updated our key calls for action and are doing all we can to use our expert policy voice to influence improvements in healthcare for older people.

In this column I have outlined some key developments we are involved in and set out some of the ways in which you can engage in BGS’s influencing work.

BGS election manifesto. Following the announcement of a general election in June, we have developed our own election manifesto which makes seven calls on the incoming Government in this, our 70th anniversary year. Please share widely, including with your local candidates before the election and with your elected MP in your local area after the election. You can download a copy here

In response to the Chancellor’s budget statement in March, we published a media statement welcoming the announcement that Government would be publishing a Green paper on the future financing of social care. Now that a general election has been called we don’t know what the chances are of getting a Green Paper, but we will be calling on the incoming government for a fundamental review of both health and social care funding.

BGS submission to the National Assembly for Wales Inquiry into loneliness and social isolation. Working with BGS Wales Council members, we sent in a submission to this inquiry. We highlighted the impact on older people’s health outcomes and on use of health and social care services, as well as setting out the evidence for what works for older people’s health and wellbeing when seeking to address the problems of loneliness and isolation. A copy of our full submission can be found here.

Publications on key issues that impact on the work of BGS members - you may be interested in the following:

If you would like to learn more about the size of the funding gap in social care you may find the article by Adam Roberts, Senior Economics Fellow at the Health Foundation useful. He provides an overview of the various analyses and methods used to calculate the funding gap. 

In February the National Audit Office published a report examining progress made towards integration of health and social care services. One of the key findings was that the planned rate of progress is over-optimistic. 

NHS England has published its Next steps for delivery of the NHS Five Year Forward View. These include delivering changes to ensure ‘better care for older people by bringing together services provided by GPs, hospitals, therapists, nurses and care staff, cutting emergency admissions and time spent in hospital’. 

Call for examples of good practice: if you are a geriatrician or psychiatrist who cares for older people with depression living in care homes we would very much like to hear from you! BGS and the Royal College of Psychiatry’s Faculty of Old Age are delighted to be working together on a joint report on depression amongst older people living in care homes.

Our report will showcase good collaborative practice by old age psychiatrists, geriatricians and other health professionals across the UK and promotes the cost-effectiveness of ensuring timely diagnosis and access to appropriate treatment. Based on good practice evidence we will be developing policy recommendations aimed at key opinion-formers and decision-makers. Please contact me – Caroline Cooke, Policy Manager, British Geriatrics Society by email at or by phone on
0203 747 6943 if you would like your work to be showcased in this UK wide report – if selected, your contribution will be individually acknowledged in the report which we aim to publish by the end of the year.

How can you help to influence policy?
The experience and expertise of BGS members is critical to the success of our policy influencing work. At the moment we especially need your help in:

Sharing our BGS election manifesto of calls on the incoming Government as widely as possible 

Providing case studies of good practice on treating depression in older people living in care homes (see details above – email )

Letting us know about your experiences, either of being involved, or not being involved – and why it may have been difficult to engage, in the Sustainability and Transformation Plans for the area you work in if you are based in England. Whether it is positive or negative we like to hear from you. Our President Elect Professor Tahir Masud has written a blog with further information.

Caroline Cooke
Policy Manager

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