The essential need to educate all about age and ageing

Dr Gwyn Grout is an Independent Consultant Nurse.  Gwyn is an active member of the Nurse and AHP Council and represents that group within the BGS Education and Training Committee.  In recent years Gwyn’s job focus has been in clinical education, mostly addressing the development needs of non-medical practitioners aspiring to Advanced and Consultant level roles in practice. In clinical background Gwyn led an Older Peoples’ Mental Health Liaison service and has worked across a variety of clinical settings both within the NHS and in the independent sector. She tweets @gbg1954

The population is ageing and more and more professionals are required to work with older people wherever that may be; in specialist services, primary care, care homes, acute surgery or in an emergency department and everywhere. The BGS Nurse and Allied Health Professional Council believe that all healthcare staff and professionals require knowledge and skills to enable them to work effectively with older people, whatever the level or place of their practice. Our position paper can be found here

The NHS Long Term Plan (2019) describes the growing ageing population as a “pressure”. While we would rather celebrate the success of increased longevity, we welcome the opportunity to re-examine how best to meet changing population health and social care needs.

The NHS plan asserts that doctors are to be supported to manage co-morbidity (para 4.24) - we argue that increased education about age and ageing is essential across professional development for all practitioners, particularly given the increased focus on community intervention.

We define 5 areas of practice across these levels:

  1. Early apprenticeships and the pre-registration workforce
  2. The undergraduate workforce
  3. Post-registration practice education – preceptorship and beyond
  4. Advanced practice
  5. Consultant level practice

Work is already in process with Health Education England, the BGS and the Royal College of Physicians to develop a curriculum for Advanced Clinical Practice for those who specialise in working with older adults - come and hear more about it at the BGS Spring Meeting! The Nurse and AHP Council now aspire to influence the development of effective pathways for education in the other defined practice levels listed above.

We are aware of some excellent local multi-professional initiatives, particularly following the publication of the Skills for Health (2018) Frailty framework. For example, North Hampshire CCG have initiated Frailty Friends; North Somerset are rolling out a Frailty Bundle. We want to hear about initiatives in your area, so do get in touch. 

We also want to understand how each professional group is addressing the need for education on age and ageing within their undergraduate curricula and how this content might be influenced. Similarly, how do Professional Development Plans focus on the needs of the older population?

I am also very keen to hear from Nurse and AHP enthusiasts who are ready to work, as Council members, to lead the move forward on this important agenda. Please get in touch.



Great blog!!!!

Keen to be involved with this work...I feel there is often the a gap between rhetoric and reality e.g. between needs and workforce capability, between courses and skills on the ground. Agree... skills needed at all levels to stand any chance of significant impact....across professions (social care too). 

Looking forward to further updates...


I really appreciate your recognition that our families and loved ones living longer are not ‘pressures’ but that frailty is the real issue here. I would love to be involved in driving these movements forward!

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