Dr Yvonne Morrissey

Chair, South East

I began Geriatric Medicine early in my medical career. After graduating at King’s my Medical House Job included a 3-month post at St Francis’ Hospital, a former workhouse which in that year became incorporated into Dulwich Hospital. There I met my first Geriatrics inpatients, acute and “long-stay”. Some were in their sixties which seemed very old then!

During my career I think I can say that I experienced first-hand the evolution of Geriatric Medicine as a speciality.  I remember as a medical student the curriculum included one lecture from the Consultant Geriatrician (there was only one at the time!) which was a case presentation. It described the clinical journey of an older gentleman who had been shifted from speciality to speciality, location to location, no one agreeing he would be their patient, a process not advantageous to the patient in terms of outcome.  However Geriatric medicine is now a mainstream medical speciality! 

After a 2-year stint as Medical Registrar I started speciality training. I became interested in the idea of measuring and improving the quality of life in long-term care which became the theme of my MD Thesis. I learnt about qualitative research, the biographical approach and the value of triangulating multiple methodologies. As a Consultant busy “post-take” ward rounds showed the need to review medication. I linked up with Renal colleagues to explore data on number of antihypertensives, BP and adverse events in older patients.  I presented the resultant abstract at the BGS Falls SIG Conference, through which I became introduced to the EuGMS Falls-Risk increasing Drugs (FRIDS) Task and Finish Group and this collaboration led to co-authored publications on FRIDs. Recently a new BGS Medicines Optimisation SIG has been established of which I am Secretary.

Why BGS members should get involved with the region:

Historically our Region has some very eminent Professors including Professors Cameron Swift, Peter Crome, Stephen Jackson and Finbar Martin and now new rising academic stars.   Our Regional Research Lead, Nigel Becket co-ordinated the landmark Hypertension in the Very Elderly (HYVET). As a Region we would hope to carry forwards the high academic achievement to date and support and encourage new and younger consultants and trainees to flourish. 

Regular SE region meetings have taken place with the kind help and support of colleagues at our Region’s Teaching Hospitals, King’s College Hospital and Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital. Meetings are attended by trainees and specialists of multiple disciplines relevant to Geriatric Medicine including at recent meetings presentations by colleagues in Physiotherapy, Speech Therapy and Dental surgery as well other fields. Posters and abstracts from trainees of all levels have been presented and prizes awarded.  Going forwards in some ways it may be a benefit to have virtual meetings as our region is geographically large and it might help more people to attend.

Contact Yvonne by email (yvonnemorrissey [at] nhs [dot] net), using the members directory or by sending her a message on the BGS forum.