BGS responds to RCP survey about geriatricians’ levels of interest in research

27 August 2020

The Royal College of Physicians has today published the results of a survey gauging how interested different medical specialties are in participating in research. Among those who responded to the survey, geriatricians have indicated a lower level of interest in conducting research than other specialities. From our experience, we feel this doesn’t reveal the whole picture when it comes to geriatricians’ true interest in research.

It is important to note that academic geriatrics is less well established than other specialties and there is a much smaller number of academic clinical fellowships and lectureships in geriatric medicine than for less populous specialties. Although this has improved over the last decade, most trainees in geriatric medicine will still complete their training without passing through an academic department.   

In addition, many clinical trials are focused on younger people and exclude participants over the age of 65. Many geriatricians may find that their patient population is automatically excluded from taking part in research and therefore see research as less relevant to their roles.

Professor Adam Gordon, BGS Vice President for Academic Affairs, said:

This interesting data from the RCP tells us that the historical underfunding and lack of support for academic training in geriatric medicine has had consequences for the readiness of our consultant workforce to support essential research into ageing. Investment in and prioritisation of training in academic geriatric medicine is required.

At the BGS, our ambition is to grow the number of Academic Clinical Fellow and Academic Clinical Lecturer posts in geriatric medicine, in order to expand research capacity in the speciality. This fits into a broader strategy of building opportunities in research into ageing for all healthcare professionals, recognising the important contribution of allied health professionals and nurses. We welcome the support of organisations such as the RCP in ensuring we have the necessary research and evidence to develop healthcare services fit for care of older people.”