BGS Strategic Plan 2020-23

The BGS Strategic Plan sets out our direction of travel to 2023, based on an analysis of the environment in which BGS members work, our strengths as a Society and an assessment of how we can have most impact and influence in achieving our mission.

That mission is ‘to improve healthcare for older people.' It feeds into our vision of ‘a society where all older people receive high-quality, patient-centred care when and where they need it.’ It is a cause for celebration that more people are living longer, healthier lives. But the ageing population and the rise in numbers of people with complex long-term conditions presents a challenge for the NHS.

The Strategic Plan acknowledges these operational realities for our members: political upheaval, workforce shortages, the absence of a sustainable solution to the social care crisis, and the pressures on healthcare professionals across acute, primary and community care.

We describe how we will work together to influence decision-making, resource allocation and practice to address these challenges, and to support better integration of services across care settings and between physical and mental health. Using the authority that comes from frontline experience, the BGS will seek to influence the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan in England.

The Plan reinforces the commitment of the BGS to fundamental principles of high-quality patient-centred care; to diversity, equality and inclusion; and to multi-disciplinary teamwork. We want the BGS to grow, continuing to build the diversity of our membership across the UK and valuing the perspectives of different professions. We set out the important role that specialists play in supporting and advising non-specialists. With a small staff team supporting more than 4,000 individual members, we value collaboration with others, be they charities, NHS agencies or other Colleges and Societies.

We have five strategic goals for 2020-23

1. To promote high standards of clinical quality in the healthcare of older people by developing knowledge and improved practice.
Intended outcome: By 2023, we will have contributed to better healthcare for older people by developing and promoting tools, guidance and standards which are widely used and shared by clinicians and other healthcare professionals in their practice.
2. To support continuing professional development of those specialising and working in healthcare of older people and to influence their training and education.
Intended outcome: By 2023, we will have contributed to relevant curricula, and developed new courses and learning opportunities to enhance the uptake, quality and relevance of education and training in geriatric medicine and healthcare for older people.
3. To promote research into older people’s health and healthcare, and its application to clinical settings.
Intended outcome: By 2023, we will be a recognised convener for research opportunities, research skills and dissemination of research evidence into practice, and will be publishing our high-impact journal, Age and Ageing, via a sustainable model.
4. To influence policymakers, commissioners and health professionals by being an informed advocate and authority on older people's healthcare.
Intended outcome: By 2023, we will be known for our authoritative policy voice which will have influenced the development of older people’s healthcare policy at national and regional level across the NHS in the UK.
5. To ensure the BGS is a robust, dynamic, sustainable organisation.
Intended outcome: By 2023, we will be a strong, collaborative charity and medical society of more than 4,500 members with a financially sound business model and a thriving multi-disciplinary ethos.

There are three cross-cutting priorities:

  • Strengthening regional activity – members want the BGS to enable stronger connections at local and regional level, to complement national-level activity. Our Plan sets out how we will encourage high-quality meetings, co-operation, knowledge-sharing and peer support across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • Strengthening digital services – with pressures on study leave and study budgets, online access to continuing professional development (CPD) and BGS services becomes ever more important. The Plan includes digital developments such as e-learning, a membership/events app, livestreaming, webcasts and video-conferencing, a potential online forum linked to our Members’ Directory, and enhancements to the website and Age and Ageing online offer.
  • Strengthening our community – the Society’s strength is in the energy, expertise and commitment of its members. The Plan sets out our intention to improve the rewards and incentives for getting involved, to enhance the member offer, and to encourage BGS members to feel a sense of belonging and pride in the community of those committed to improving healthcare for older people.

The demand for high-quality healthcare for older people in the UK continues to grow. People are living for longer in better health, but many spend their later years with complex inter-related health conditions. Compassionate, committed, skilled staff are needed in all healthcare settings if we are to ensure older people can experience the best possible care. It is our role as a Society to support this specialist workforce across different health professions, valuing the multidisciplinary perspectives they bring.

We connect people across regions, topics and disciplines to enable peer support and mutual learning. We educate and train them to build their skills and confidence to deliver the best possible care. We amplify the knowledge that comes from research evidence, clinical improvement and daily experience. We seek to influence the policies that shape how the health system is designed and delivered across the UK. We collaborate with partners and allies who share our commitment to older people’s healthcare. The Society’s role as convenor, policy advocate, expert voice and learning hub is more important than ever.

Over the period April 2020 to March 2023 we will deliver this Strategic Plan. It represents an ambitious set of commitments to increase our membership, profile, impact and influence. This will be achieved by the collective contribution of BGS members working together to improve healthcare for older people.