BGS President Elect 2020-22 Candidates

The BGS is holding a ballot of its members to elect the next President Elect (2020-22). Voting is open from 24 June 2020 at 9am until Friday 24 July at 5pm.

The President Elect supports the BGS President in their role and will move into the BGS President position themselves after two years. The BGS President is the Society’s most senior role, serving as a member of the BGS Trustee Board and a director of BGS (Trading) Ltd, our wholly owned trading arm. The BGS President chairs the Trustee Board, which has a detailed oversight of all the Society’s strategies, finances and operational activities. The President Elect supports the BGS President as and when needed.

The candidates

The two candidates are:
Each candidate has prepared a personal manifesto explaining how they would approach the role of BGS President Elect, and ultimately that of BGS President. Please scroll down the page to read these statements.
We have also recorded a short video Q&A session with each candidate, outlining their plans and priorities if they are elected, which you can view below.
Professor Adam Gordon

Professor Adam Gordon

The part I enjoy most about being a BGS member is being on a mission. Our patients are often let down by modern medicine because their problems are “too difficult”. I go to work energised by the knowledge that we can do better. To be a BGS member is to believe that older people with frailty deserve more, and that careful application of knowledge, skill and evidence-based healthcare can change lives.

Multidisciplinary teams in care of older people have transformed care across the NHS, and new opportunities to extend our models of working emerge weekly. We must seek every opportunity to do more for our patients, yet each new service development runs the risk that we overstretch our members. Good care for older adults should be everybody’s business. The BGS must work with Medical Royal Colleges, and national bodies for nursing and the allied health professions, to ensure that all specialties and disciplines, in all parts of the NHS, are ready to support older people with frailty.

Discussions around developing rehabilitation services post-COVID have reinforced the arbitrary time-delimited nature of much NHS rehabilitation. The BGS should campaign to ensure that older people can access rehabilitation services based upon evidence of what works and challenge engrained assumptions about what the NHS is prepared to afford.

Care homes have been thrust into the limelight during the pandemic, leading to wide acknowledgement that the sector needs reform. The BGS has an important role to play in shaping what medical care should look like in care homes, including working to define core competencies in care home medicine.

The rush to research during COVID-19 has confirmed, again, that many researchers are happy to exclude older people from their work. The BGS must campaign for inclusion of older people, and the expert professionals who care for them, in planning and conduct of research.

Almost half of BGS members are from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. BAME colleagues face unacceptable structural barriers in their daily work. These barriers may have contributed to the exposure and subsequent deaths of valued friends and colleagues during COVID-19. This cannot continue. The BGS must be a voice against structural racism in healthcare. We should develop a specific policy about how we will advocate on behalf of BAME members.

For the BGS to do all this, we need to harness the full expertise and credibility that comes from our multidisciplinary membership. We also need a President with broad experience and credibility. I have clinical expertise in hospitals and the community. I have educational expertise, having developed and published curricula in undergraduate geriatric medicine, leadership, and care home nursing. As Vice President for Academic Affairs, I have built links with partners to campaign for more, and better, research for older people. I have a strong track record in working with care homes and was lead author of the BGS Care Home Commissioning Guidance and BGS Guidance for COVID-19 in Care Homes. Together we can do this. It would be a privilege to lead.

Professor Martin Vernon

Professor Martin Vernon

I qualified in Medicine in Manchester in 1988 and a decade later in Medical Ethics and Law. I am a Consultant Geriatrician and leader in the NHS, committed to advancing care quality for older people. I have been BGS spokesperson for end of life care, contributing to the Neuberger review in 2013. As chair of the Ethics Special Interest Group, I contributed to the BGS Law Commission submission on Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty in 2015. I support the Society frequently as a participant and speaker at national and regional meetings, through written content and regular provision of policy advice.
I have worked extensively with local and national government, NHS bodies, and professional organisations across health, social care and charitable sectors. This has equipped me with the necessary networking and negotiating skills to navigate complex political and organisational landscapes with positive impact. In 2017 during my tenure as a National Clinical Director, I led development of a world leading policy to identify and support over 1 million older people with frailty. Developing the NHS Ageing Well Programme in 2019, I secured government funding for care homes support, expansion of intermediate care and community multidisciplinary assessment for older people. The same year I contributed to a Public Health England consensus statement focused on prevention, narrowing inequalities and challenging ageism. Taken together these achievements define what I stand for.
As President, I will work tirelessly to support BGS in maintaining its high profile national and international presence. The Society can drive much needed health and social care policy change and we must use all available levers to advocate for both our specialty and older people. With historic underfunding of services for older people, the way we work and the arguments we make over the next few years will be crucial. Supporting the Society to create and share high quality evidence and effective service models is paramount in making the compelling arguments required for positive change.
As President, I will build on existing strengths of the BGS to deliver against four priorities:
  • Membership expansion and diversification. Our membership are our life blood so this means attracting more students, trainees and colleagues from across health and social care, especially nursing, the allied health professions and pharmacists, supporting them to contribute productively to the Society while in turn developing their skills, knowledge, capabilities and networks.
  • Becoming digital by default. In a socially distanced world, the BGS must develop its high-quality digital outputs through the website, Age and Ageing, meetings and conferences.
  • Supporting research, innovation and quality improvement. The Society must channel inspiration, talent and creativity to create the best opportunities for practice innovation. Together we have much to contribute in how we develop and deploy quality data and evidence to drive improvement.
  • Leading and collaborating. BGS has a unique and strong identity as both a specialist and generalist society. In meeting the challenges ahead, there is much to gain from working collaboratively with other interest organisations and across sectors.

BGS Chief Executive, Sarah Mistry, spoke to the two President Elect candidates to find out more about their plans and priorities if they were elected. You can view the interviews with Adam Gordon and Martin Vernon in the videos below.

Adam Gordon

Martin Vernon