Cliff Kilgore is a Consultant Nurse for Intermediate Care and Older People within Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust and he is also a Visiting Fellow to Bournemouth University. He is Chair of the BGS Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals Council. He also is a member of the BGS Clinical Quality Steering Group. He tweets @kilgore_cliff
As the BGS celebrates 70 years of improving health care for older people, I thought it would be helpful to consider one of the reasons it has been so successful…
There are many of course that have had influence on older people’s wellbeing. I don’t claim that the BGS is the only organisation that is striving to bring excellence to older peoples’ health care, but I do feel that by its nature, the BGS does capture something of the real life working of a multi-professional team, which is the spine of caring for any older person. I have always been a strong advocate for ‘real world’ practice, whether considering research or organisational structure. Real world practice is how many front-line clinicians describe what happens when they see patients. It is the person that politely turns down our advice, even though we feel we have offered the best treatment, or the home environment that is not what we would want for the older person. It is this real world practice that requires a mutual reliance from different health and social care professionals within the team, to assess and treat older people with health problems who without support, and an element of expertise, would likely deteriorate.
My involvement with the BGS has been relevantly short compared to some but in the 5 years that I have been involved it is clear that getting healthcare professionals working together is a key aim of the organisation. I could say this based on the BGS organisational aims or the excellent documents that many have produced which lead the way on healthcare excellence, or even based on the meetings with ministers that have attempted to move older people’s healthcare higher on the agenda.
However, I say this mainly because of the people that I have met and worked with personally, who have worked tirelessly to lead the way. People like David Oliver, the former president, or Eileen Burns, the current president, who have led and lead in a way that focuses on working together as a body of professionals. I say this because of the influence of people like Gwyn Grout, through her work with Health Education England and Advanced Practitioner training, and because of individuals like Jane Buswell, who has helped to drive closer working of the multi-professional team in the BGS, to the point that doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals all influence the daily work of the organisation through its many committees and groups.
In reality I could write a long list of healthcare professionals that are key to the BGS as an organisation; those who influence through local and national work; those who continuously seek to promote the wellbeing of older people nationally and internationally; and those who work together daily on research projects, or in front line teams in hospitals and community settings. These are the people that make the BGS a success and an inspiration to others, through something that has become synonymous with older people’s care – multi-professional healthcare… it’s in the name!