October 2018: President's Column

Our exclusive members only BGS Newsletter, published quarterly
Eileen Burns
Date Published:
11 October 2018
Last updated: 
11 October 2018

This is my last newsletter as President of the Society. I find it hard to believe that four years have passed since I took up the post of President Elect.

During that time our Society has gone from strength to strength. Our membership continues to grow, now standing at over 3,400. We have an expanding Nurses and AHPs Council, and this year saw the inauguration of “Geri GPs”, a group for GP members. As you know, we’ve recently completely revamped and relaunched our website, making it much more “user-friendly”, with much improved navigability and content.

The aims of the BGS are to promote excellence in healthcare for frail older people, to promote high standards in clinical quality and research, to offer CPD, to be a leading national voice influencing policy, and to promote best practice on issues important to older people, especially those living with frailty.

Over the last two years we have continued to champion these aims. Members of our society are prominent in the development of NICE guidelines and we have shared examples of excellent practice through our publications and website. Our Education and Training Committee, working with the RCP, continues to ensure that the training we offer our young doctors make them fit future NHS consultants, and our workforce lead (Zoe Wryko) worked tirelessly to ensure that Health Education England understood and responded to the need to train adequate numbers of consultant geriatricians. Members of our Society lead work to describe the knowledge, skills and competencies required of those working in new roles (such as ANP with an interest in frailty) to ensure a consistent standard of care.

Our journal remains one of the most respected in the field internationally, with a consistently high impact factor. Our Spring and Autumn meetings receive excellent feedback and the number of delegates last Autumn in London was our highest ever.

Our policy work is a story of increasing influence; for example, I am one of twelve experts advising the government regarding the Green Paper on Social Care and BGS currently contributes to the Long Term Plan for the NHS. We have responded to many requests for interviews, quotes, and TV and radio appearances, allowing us to promote the values of the Society to a wider audience.

All of this work is underpinned by the efforts of the staff team led by Colin Nee, the chief executive. Despite the small size of the team they achieve a huge amount. It was a huge blow when Colin announced his plans to retire early in the new year; he will be a very difficult man to replace. Many of you may not know Colin, as he’s self-effacing and shuns the limelight. However, he has transformed our Society into a model of good governance. His knowledge of the requirements of a charity (in law), his careful oversight of the Society’s finances and his management of the team are just a few of his many, many attributes. He has been a rock on which our Society has thrived, and his contribution cannot be overestimated.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as President and will miss the excitement and stimulation of the role enormously. I have been very proud to lead our society and am tremendously grateful to all the members and staff who have supported me during this time. It’s good to know our Society will be in safe hands with my successor, Prof Tash Masud.

Eileen Burns

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