The British Geriatrics Society is calling all healthcare professionals to review the Gosport Independent Panel Report, and to learn from these shocking events which led to the deaths of over 450 patients who were given opiate painkillers “without medical justification” from 1989 to 2000 at Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire.
The Inquiry found there was a “disregard for human life” and an “institutionalised practice of shortening lives” at the hospital. In response to the Inquiry’s findings the Society is also calling for increased knowledge of best practice and clinical guidelines, especially in relation to prescribing and pain management in older people. The Society fully supports the families’ ongoing quest for truth and accountability. Continue reading →
Dr Gaggandeep Singh Alg is currently a Consultant (AUC) Physician and Geriatrician working at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, UK. He is active in charity work supporting the most vulnerable in society and has an interest in equality and diversity. Twitter Handle @DrGSAlg
How often do we hear about the rapidly growing population of older people? Yes, we hear about it almost every day. But who are these older patients? Where are they originally from? What is their cultural and religious background? No one seems to be talking about that!
In the last 8 years while doing charity work in my free time I have noticed a growth in the older population from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups. Older people from BAME backgrounds suffer from the same illnesses our other patients suffer from. However, in my experience they do not always know when and how to seek help. They have cultural, religious and language barriers which may prevent them from accessing health care services. Through the charity work I have seen many over 65 year olds living with signs and symptoms of various diseases, who have not been able to access the services we have built and provide! Continue reading →
In this blog Helen Wildbore, Policy and Programmes Manager at the British Institute of Human Rights, shares some key points from her speech to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Older People’s inquiry on human rights on 24th April. Helen shared the platform with Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society.
Why is poor care a human rights issue? At the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), we work with people at the sharp end of public services and people placed in vulnerable situations, including older people. When things go ‘wrong’ and people receive poor care, their first thought isn’t necessarily their rights.
Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician and Honorary Secretary of the BGS. He holds a law degree and has a special interest in medicolegal matters. He tweets @drohanlon
Most doctors spend their career hoping never to see the inside of a courtroom! While geriatricians are probably among the most rarely sued specialists, we can still have quite frequent involvement with the law – the Coroner’s Court is a good example. There is also an increasing amount of medicolegal work related to dementia, deprivation of liberty safeguards and mental capacity. In this environment there has been a gap in the market for a book that focuses specifically on our needs, but retired geriatrician Dr Geoffrey Phillips is at hand with help.
“The Geriatrician in Court” is a handbook of “how to do it” based upon his thirty years of experience in preparing medico-legal reports and attending court to give expert evidence. The book covers all the main topics over the course of 226 pages. It begins with an outline of the legal system, criminal versus civil law, negligence and burden of proof. Important areas such as mental capacity, testamentary capacity, abuse, medical error and resuscitation all feature. Continue reading →
The July 2017 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now. A full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more.
Hot topics in this issue include:
Care home leadership
Diet and muscle function
Prescribing for frail older
Treatment of overactive
The Editor’s View article gives an overview of the issue with a summary of highlights. This article is free to read and can be viewed here. Continue reading →
Caroline Cooke is Policy Manager at BGS and Premila Fade is BGS’s End of Life Care Lead. Here they explain the background to, and significance of, the report published by the Law Commission, “Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty” on 17 March 2017.
What are DoLS? The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) are a set of protections for adults who lack the mental capacity to consent to deprivation of their liberty by, for example, admission either to hospital or a care home for treatment or care. They were introduced as part of the Mental Health Act 2007. The intention behind their introduction was to ensure that no-one is deprived of liberty without good reason, and the right of legal challenge is built into the authorisation process. The idea was to close the so called ‘Bournewood gap’ whereby adults admitted informally (i.e. not via the Mental Health Act) did not have an automatic right to appeal. The European Court of Human Rights (HL v United Kingdom) ruled that this lack of safeguards was a breach of article 5 ‘The right to Liberty’ of the Human Rights Act. Continue reading →
Mr Leslie Hamilton recently took early retirement (pressure of the on-call transplant rota) as a cardiac surgeon but continues to sit as Assistant Coroner. He is currently on the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons and is a past President of SCTS (Society for C/Th Surgery). He will be Chairing a special workshop at the BGS Spring Meeting on Thursday 27 April.
You have just received a letter asking you to attend Court. You get a tachycardia. What is it about?
There are four courts which doctors can face in relation to their medical practice. It could be the GMC’s Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (the old Fitness to Practice panels) – though strictly speaking it is a Tribunal rather than a court. It is however adversarial in nature with full legal representation. It could be in relation to a clinical negligence claim – in the civil court. An increasingly common occurrence in many specialties. Or very rarely it could be for the criminal court on a charge of wilful neglect or gross negligence manslaughter. Continue reading →
Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.
I am in the second year of a PhD researching volunteers in dementia and acute hospitals. The project came about as part of my clinical work as a staff nurse in older person acute care. It was while working on a prevention of delirium research study, I realised that volunteers could play an important role.
The first year of my PhD has been spent mainly completing modules and designing the project from scratch. I have lost track of how many drafts of countless documents have been sent to my long suffering supervisors as they guide me towards refining my ideas, sifting through my thousands of words to put together a robust study which will stand up to scrutiny. Continue reading →
Shuli Levy is a locum consultant geriatrician at the Hammersmith hospital, London, running liaison geriatrics and MDT support teams for tertiary specialist services. She has recently taken over as head of the BGS Ethics and Law special interest group.
I recently gave a talk to doctors and medical students in my department, about the difference in Utilitarian versus Kantian ethics and the implications for our practice as generalists and as geriatricians. It surprised me that no one, apart from one medical student, had heard the terms before. Not for the first time, I reflected on how so much of our daily work as geriatricians involves complex ethical and legal decisions but so little time is devoted to exploring and understanding them. We may use our precious CPD time to learn more about endocrinology in older people or novel approaches to the mitral valve, but rarely encounter patients for whom this is relevant in clinical practice. In contrast, ethical questions, and the statutory duties they engender, arise on every medicine for the elderly ward round, on most acute takes, daily in the community and in every MDM. Continue reading →
It is frequently said that there are just two universal certainties: death and taxes. While HMRC is responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid, information about who dies, where, and how, is gathered through death certification.
Dementia is a public health priority of increasing importance. In 2014, it was reported that dementia had overtaken cancer and cardiovascular disease as the most common cause of death for women in England. We have previously shown that the proportion of death certificates in England where dementia was mentioned as a cause of death doubled between 2001 and 2010.
But what is unclear is why dementia deaths appear to be increasing. Is it due to an increasing prevalence of dementia in our ageing society? Due to increased detection of dementia, perhaps? Or does this increase simply represent an improvement in death certification practices over time? Continue reading →