Sometimes good things really do come for free!

Mary Ni Lochlainn is an Academic Clinical Fellow in Geriatric Medicine. BGS Junior Members’ Representative and on the BGS Trainee’s Council. She works at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich @younggeris. Her email is

picture-for-bgs-website-mary-ni-lochlainnMembership of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is open to all medical students, student nurses,
student therapists, nurses and AHPs in a preceptor year and Foundation Year doctors and is completely FREE!

I joined the BGS as a first year medical student and thus have benefited from free membership for quite a few years now, and would highly recommend it to all those who are interested in the healthcare of older adults.

You do not have to have your mind set on specialising in geriatric medicine; as we all know the proportion of people older than 65 is growing faster than any other age group (WHO, 2002). In the United Kingdom the population aged 65 years and older is set to increase by two-thirds to reach 15.8 million in 2031 (Wise, 2010). Geriatric medicine is set to become the largest and most exciting specialty in medicine! Beyond that, healthcare professionals in all other specialties (medical, surgical and the rest) will be dealing with more and more older adults in their services. This is reflected in the growing number of geriatric-liason services around the country. The BGS already has a large number of GP members, and those interested in general practice should also consider joining, in light of the high numbers of older patients attending GP practices around the country.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Discounted rate for all BGS meetings and conferences including the fantastic BGS Trainee’s Weekend
  • A wide variety of career development opportunities
  • Free e-Bulletin sharing best practice, policy updates andother relevant news
  • Free attendance to regional meetings
  • Networking and contact opportunities with experts in thefield of geriatric medicine
  • Looks good on your CV and in applications
  • It’s free!

Some further benefits of membership include the prizes and grant opportunities available to medical students and junior doctors. I was fortunate enough to win the Amulree essay prize in 2010 as a first year medical student, which has opened many doors for me in my career. Later I benefitted from the Young Doctor’s Education Grant in order to attend a BGS conference. I am very grateful to the BGS for these opportunities, and they were both awarded to me without ever paying a penny in subscription fees!

Prizes and grants available to juniors:

  • Amulree Essay Prize – this is open to medical and dental students in the UK and Ireland and can be on any topic pertinent to ageing 31st July 2017 Top prize £450.00.
  • Movement Disorders Essay Prize – Title-‘Walking in the footsteps of James Parkinson 200 years on” Deadline 28th February 2017, Top prize £500.00

Bulpitt Undergraduate Scholarship -Candidates to write a 150 word statement as to why they should be given the scholarship and how the elective will help to further their interest in geriatric medicine. Prize is £400.00, deadline 31st July 2017.

  • Medical Students’ Elective Project Grant – up to £500 support to enable an elective in healthcare of older adults in UK or abroad
  • The BGS Autumn and Spring meetings usually have some medical students to volunteer – the role involves small jobs such as passing microphones to the audience at question time. This is a great opportunity to attend a scientific conference for free, with fantastic speakers and a wide range of posters on display.
  • Young Doctors Education Grant – up to £450 support to attend meeting in geriatric or related subject outside the UK or to support those presenting work at a BGS meeting
  • Grants are also available for nurses, therapists and more senior doctors
  • See BGS website for more details

Finally, I would like to highly recommend the BGS Trainee’s Council to anyone considering a career in geriatric medicine. While the majority of members of the council are registrars, there are two positions for ‘Junior Members’ Representatives’, one of which is currently up for re-election. Please click here for further details. Please note the deadline is soon – Friday November 11th. Feel free to contact me directly (twitter or email) for any questions you may have and don’t forget to join the BGS here!

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