Every older person in a care home needs access to high quality healthcare

chg-v2The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) calls for everyone who commissions or provides healthcare in care homes to follow the principles of good practice set out in the guidance we are publishing today, so that every older person who lives in a care home in the UK has access to high quality healthcare which fully meets their needs. Based on the clinical expertise of our members our updated guidance sets out clinical and service priorities for how best practice can be achieved, and provides clear indicators of what successful delivery looks like for older people, their families and carers.

In the UK 405,000 people over the age of 65 years old currently live in care homes. This represents 16% of older people over the age of 85. Their healthcare needs are complex and the average care home resident has multiple long-term conditions, and frailty. They are likely to have better health outcomes if health services reflect these needs, and they have access to comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment, with input from healthcare specialists trained in the care of complex medical problems in later life. Continue reading

Multi-morbidity – the case for change

David Paynton is a GP in an inner city surgery. He is also the Clinical Lead for Commissioning for the RCGP.

Dr David Paynton

Generalists are the solution.

For too long policy makers have ignored what clinicians on the front line have been telling them, people with multiple conditions not only exist but are the mainstream.

It is our failure to recognise this fact that has put pressure in the system as the NHS struggles to keep its head above water especially when one adds social factors, depression and mental health into the mix of complexity.

The RCGP “responding to the needs of patient with multi-morbidity” has created a powerful case for change with the need to substitute ever-increasing investment into super specialism by a call for the generalist to support those with multi-morbidity in the community. Continue reading

Take the high road or the low road…but don’t miss the BGS in Glasgow this November!

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President-Elect 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

eileenburnsThe Autumn Meeting of the BGS in Glasgow this November looks to be a great event with a broad range of topics and sessions.

But the day that excites me the most is Wednesday November 23rd.

Many of us have been approached by commissioners of services to “move into the community” in some way (in whichever part of the UK we are based). Others have seen the need to look at alternatives to acute hospital care for older patients with less severe illnesses, and it’s been clinicians rather than commissioners or managers who have been the spark for new developments. Continue reading

Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched.

Dr Zoe Wyrko is a Consultant physician at University Hospital Birmingham and is the Director of Workforce for the BGS. In this blog she discusses the recent RCP report ‘Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016‘. She tweets @geri_baby

underfunded-underdoctored_0The Royal College of Physicians have published a report Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016. It clearly lays out that honest debate is needed, and choices are going to have to be made – increases in funding or cuts in care. It states that a new plan is needed, not yet another  quick fix or temporary solution, rather one that is designed to meet the UK’s health and care needs in the long term, and that values, supports and motivates NHS staff. Continue reading

Making it happen! An Acute Clinical Team in action

Firdaus Adenwalla is a consultant geriatrician in ABM University Health Board.  He is part of the Neath Port Talbot Acute Clinical Team providing an intermediate care service for the community. 

The media reminds us daily of how our health service is not keeping pace with our changing world. The negativity around health care, hospitals overflowing, not enough doctors, not enough nurses, GP practices closing, and the list goes on. Increasing demand, improved technology and our increased life expectancy, all compound the notion that our health service cannot meet our needs. Continue reading

Integrated care – how to make a mountain out of a molehill?

David Stott is Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow and is Editor in Chief for Age and Ageing journal.shutterstock_183253856

Integrated health and social care has been promoted as a key solution to the challenge of providing high quality care with a restricted budget. Philp summarises current thinking in a New Horizons article recently published in Age and Ageing.

The aim of providing a fully integrated system including coordination of organisation of health and social services sounds sensible. After all who would argue for disintegrated and disorganised care?

However there are problems and challenges, not with the concept of integration, but in the organisation and systems that are being ‘pushed’ to effect integration. Continue reading

The NHS England Five Year Forward View: A crucial document for our speciality, for the care of older people and for Health and Care Services in England.

David Oliver is President of the BGS, Visiting Fellow at the King’s Fund and Consultant Geriatrician at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. In part 1 of a 2-part blog, he discusses how the NHS “Five Year Forward View” is important for people involved in the care of older people.

October 23rd 2014 is memorable to me, as it’s my 23rd wedding anniversary. It’s also now of significance to the rest of us, as the date that NHS England’s “Five Year Forward View” plan was published. I realise not many of you will have had the time or necessarily inclination to read it, though at only 39 pages it’s an easy canter.

I also know it hasn’t attracted much Twitter activity from fellow BGS members. But it’s a document which I suspect will have far reaching influence and implications for the services we all work in. These implications seem largely positive. Let me explain why.

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Do Mention the F Word: Frailty and Policy

David Oliver is a Consultant Geriatrician in Berkshire and a visiting Professor in Medicine of Older People at City University, London. He is President Elect of the British Geriatrics Society.fffa_long

Frailty is something of an obsession for geriatricians. In a medical tradition based around “single organ” specialities and a branch of medicine which has sometimes struggled to make its identity distinct, its value clearer and its prestige higher, we know that older people with frailty and complex comorbidities are our bread and butter. And that applying skilled Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment, and whole systems, whole person care to a traditionally neglected group of service users defines what we do better than our non-geriatrician colleagues. Continue reading

Clinical Commissioning Group – Why not join one?

Dr Ian Donald, consultant geriatrician with special interest in community care, health service development and management of frailty, urges geriatricians to join a clinical commissioning group and describes his own experience of being part of a CCG. thirdSector
When Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were formed in April 2013, the legislation under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 envisaged that the CCG would be a new body built upon GP practices, which together make up the membership of the commissioning group. This “practice-led” GP commissioning was then amended to “clinically-led” commissioning. As a result, Secondary Care physicians have a statutory role on the governing body of each CCG. It was envisaged that:- “Individual members of the governing body will bring different perspectives, drawn from their different professions, roles, background and experience. These differing insights into the range of challenges and opportunities facing the CCG will, together, ensure that the CCG takes a balanced view across the whole of its business.” The regulations state that the Secondary Care Doctor should either be in practice or recently retired, and should not be an employee of an organisation which has a commissioning contract with that CCG.

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Lessons of the Francis Report are not just confined to the NHS

The BGS blog has recently hosted a lot of commentary about the Francis Report and its implications for the NHS, particularly in England. It can be useful, in times of reflection, to look outside of your immediate working environment to consider what can be learned from elsewhere. The Francis Report has implications for other healthcare economies.

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Here Prof Des O’Neil considers its implications for care in the Republic of Ireland. This article initially appeared on the BMJ blog.

The terrifying Francis report from Mid Staffordshire demonstrated vividly how older people became early victims of poor leadership and standards in the NHS, very belatedly recognised canaries in the coal mine.

Across the Irish Sea, a new and unhappy phenomenon is arising for older people in a mixed private and public healthcare system. A somewhat messy and porous border separates the two systems, with public and private beds in public and voluntary hospitals, as well as exclusively private hospitals which provide elective care in the main. There is much less discussion within the profession than might be desirable about the impact of the system on professional practice, with the few studies available (from general practice) showing differing treatment patterns for public and private patients . The aspiration of the current government is for a system of universal coverage, based on the Dutch model, but few are holding their breath. Continue reading