BGS Strategic Plan 2023-26
Over the course of 2022, the BGS developed its Strategic Plan for the three-year period April 2023 to March 2026. This included input from members and stakeholders, analysis of opportunities and threats in the environment and detailed work with the BGS’s committees, Board and staff on how we could have most impact in improving healthcare for older people.
Members will see the continuation of the BGS’s important activities in promoting clinical quality and professional practice, delivering professional development opportunities and encouraging research. Influencing the recruitment, retention, development and support of the workforce is given new prominence. Members will see the BGS taking a bolder approach to policy influencing and advocacy. We will challenge decision-makers in the NHS and government to rethink how care for older people is delivered, offering our support as an expert community to the transformational change that is needed.
Vision and context
The BGS is the membership association for multidisciplinary healthcare professionals working to deliver healthcare for older people in acute, primary and community care across the UK.
Our vision is of a society where all older people receive high-quality, personalised care when and where they need it. This means empowering and supporting older people to lead independent, healthy, happy lives in their communities for as long as possible.
Our mission is to improve healthcare for older people. This is the work of multidisciplinary healthcare professionals working in community, primary and acute care in the four countries of the UK.
Across the world, people are living for longer in better health, which is cause for celebration. However, many develop physical and mental health needs in their later years, requiring health professionals with specialist skills in the care of older people. This is the work of BGS members. It is needed more than ever as the UK population ages. Older people were one of the groups most affected by the COVID pandemic, and as we emerge from that period, the NHS is facing major challenges of workforce shortages, backlogs to planned treatments, and blockages to flow within the health system, some of which arise from the absence of sustainable social care provision. There is a risk that the gains made in recent years will be lost and a vital need to advocate for joined-up integrated services that help older people stay healthy for as long as possible and get the care they need when and where they need it.
We have five strategic goals for 2023-26
The 2023-26 Plan sets out how the BGS will support its members’ professional practice, helping them to learn, develop and improve their knowledge and skills.
It describes how BGS will use its expertise and authoritative voice, working with others, to influence those making policy, programme and resource decisions that affect outcomes for older people. It sets out the vital role of research and evidence to inform effective services and systems for older people’s healthcare. Central to the delivery of all these objectives is the BGS community: the peer support and solidarity of healthcare professionals bound together by their commitment to ensuring all older people get the best care possible.
1. Clinical quality and professional practice
We aim to promote high standards of clinical quality in the healthcare of older people by developing knowledge and improving practice. By 2026, we will have contributed to the delivery of better healthcare for older people across all care settings by developing and sharing tools, guidance and examples which enable healthcare professionals to improve their practice.
We aim to support recruitment, retention and development initiatives that increase numbers of specialists in the care of older people and help existing staff to have the appropriate skills and support to deliver good care for older people in the right place at the right time. By 2026, we will have worked with others to address the workforce crisis by helping to increase the size and skill base of the specialist workforce delivering care for older people, and by contributing to action on the workforce needed to provide healthcare to an ageing population.
3. Education and professional development
We aim to support continuing professional development of those specialising and working in healthcare of older people. By 2026, we will have enhanced the BGS educational offering for multidisciplinary professionals working in older people’s healthcare across different care settings, providing a range of meetings and learning opportunities to enable their continuing professional development.
4. Policy and communications
We aim to influence the decisions, programmes and implementation of policy-makers, commissioners, system partners and health professionals relating to older people’s healthcare across the UK. By 2026, we will have increased our profile and voice, and will be successfully influencing the development, design and implementation of national and regional programmes and policy for older people’s healthcare.
5. Research and evidence
We aim to promote research into older people’s health and healthcare, and the application of evidence-based knowledge to clinical practice across the continuum of care. By 2026, we will have strengthened research opportunities, skills and impact through our research community and through the reputation and reach of our journal, Age and Ageing.
Delivery of the Plan
The BGS is proud to be a multi-professional society which values being person-centred, inclusive, collaborative and proactive. We will deliver our Strategic Plan with and through BGS members who are the lifeblood of the Society. Our staff team support the membership, the Trustee Board and officers of the BGS who lead our work.
The BGS’s main sources of income are from membership fees, our journal and events. We plan to diversify our income and make our money work harder in pursuit of our mission. We will upgrade our website over the next year, so that the digital experience for those joining our meetings online or accessing information via the website is user-friendly and joined-up.
The operational environment in which our members work is changing constantly. Our Strategic plan will be adaptive, taking advantage of opportunities to influence and improve care for older people and responding to challenges that threaten the quality or availability of that care. We will monitor progress and be accountable for the direction we have set ourselves. We will work with our members and with wider stakeholders to improve healthcare for older people.