Happy 70th Birthday BGS!

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President of the BGS. She is currently Clinical Lead for integration in Leeds and Chairman of the BGS Community Geriatrics Special Interest Group. She tweets @EileenBurns13

bgs_70thlogo_pinkThe year is the BGS’s 70th birthday, so I’d like to mark it by wishing all our members a Very Very Happy Birthday.

Our specialty grew from the work of an indomitable woman (the eponymous Marjory Warren (of MW House fame) who identified the potential for improvement in older people living in hospital wards of a workhouse like nature. She found conditions amenable to treatment or rehabilitation, and demonstrated that a large number of the inpatients (who were expected to live and die in that hospital ward) could be discharged from hospital after suitable attention.

I wonder who was measuring the “DTOC”s and identifying the answer to “bed blocking” (forgive the use of the pejorative term) in her place of work?

In our current climate she would have been widely quoted in many conferences seeking solutions to the current situation with demand for acute hospital beds outstripping supply.

Intermediate care is a modern solution to that same problem, and the National Intermediate Care Benchmarking audit demonstrates year on year that it works- people become more independent from admission to discharge from the service. However, it also demonstrates that demand for intermediate care services outstrips supply- one estimate is that we have only half of the capacity needed.

Although the current focus on the crisis in our NHS is on the lack of social care funding (and this is undoubtedly a hugely important factor), half of our delayed patients are waiting for “non-acute NHS services” – most commonly intermediate care (either at home or in a bed based service). So if I was asked how would I spend a BGS birthday present of a large sum of money, I’d give half of it to fund the provision of adult social care services and the other half for intermediate care, following the lead of our founder, a remarkable woman.

Many Happy returns, BGS!

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