Why do allied health professionals need to be empowered?

Esther Clift is a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in Southampton, and a BGS member. In December she attended a conference for allied health professionals at The King’s Fund, chaired by BGS President David Oliver.

Last month, The King’s Fund put on a well subscribed event entitled ‘Empowering Allied Health Professionals to Transform Health and Care Services’.

That title set me wondering: why would we need to be empowered? After all, AHPs like me already make up a significant proportion of the health and social care workforce. 172,686 of us are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council, and yet it seems we are often lumped into an amorphous group of ‘doctors and nurses’ who deliver health care.

Is that just because too few people (even those who should know better) can name more than three or four of the twelve professions under the ‘allied’ banner?  Do we have a crisis of identity?

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Reconfiguring clinical services: what’s the evidence?


Dr Zoe Wyrko is a Consultant Geriatrician at University Hospital Birmingham and Current British Geriatrics Society Director of Workforce Planning. She tweets @geri_baby. Here she tells us about how the latest King’s Fund paper is relevant to geriatricians.

On Tuesday, the King’s Fund published a new paper called ‘The reconfiguration of clinical services – what is the evidence?’ in which they consider the drivers and evidence base behind the constant push for change which is endemic within the NHS. The authors discuss an analysis carried out by the National Clinical Assessment Team, commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research, and its implications for the National Health Service.

The document confirms what many of us working on the ground have probably suspected for some time: there is no evidence that reconfiguring hospital services on financial grounds alone produces a positive impact, but it does expose organisations to distraction together with clinical and financial risks. There is mixed evidence as to whether reconfiguration with the aim of improving quality is beneficial, with the most positive results found when such changes are carried out related to specialised services. This is clearly highly relevant to us as geriatricians, who are most likely to lead change for this reason.

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Empowering Allied Health Professionals – opportunity to attend valuable conference

Empowering allied health professionals to transform health and care services


THIS OPPORTUNITY HAS NOW CLOSED – a successful applicant has been chosen.

Thanks to everyone for getting in touch!

See here for this conference, which is of interest to all AHPs


The British Geriatrics Society is offering a free place at the above conference for an allied health professional, as an opportunity for personal development and to help share the learning from this important meeting. Continue reading

“We’re onto something big here” – where next for the Barker Commission?

Ed Gillett is the British Geriatrics Society’s new PR and Communications Manager. He tweets at @ehgillett and @gerisoc


Having only joined the BGS in August, I got my first taste of a large-scale event last week at The King’s Fund, with the launch of the final report from the Barker Commission on Health & Social Care.

I’ll be honest: it was a slightly intimidating experience initially. The sheer weight of intelligence and experience in the room was something to behold, from senior NHS directors and media figures to the heads of numerous NGOs, thinktanks and specialist organisations. It was a room full to the brim with big names and heavy hitters; the only notable absentees were the major political parties, at least on the Commons side of things.

It immediately became clear why this was the case, on both counts. As Dame Kate Barker outlined the core recommendations of the report, I was struck by how bold and ambitious they were; surely the sort of thing which demands high-level attention and debate, but which could also give your average Whitehall spin doctor the odd heart palpitation.

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Nice one NICE: developing the policy narrative on preventing disability, frailty and dementia in later life

David Oliver (BGS President Elect and Consultant Geriatrician) and David Buck (King’s FundSenior Fellow, Public Health and Inequalities) discuss the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)’s new guidelines on preventing disability, frailty and dementia in later life. The article can be read in full on The King’s Fund Blog:shutterstock_1850728

Life-expectancy is now 79 for men and 83 for women, and when we reach the age of 65 we can expect to live another two decades on average.

Living longer lives is a cause for celebration but there are still major inequalities in life expectancy and healthy life expectancy at birth, in rates of premature deaths, and in life expectancy at 65 between different socioeconomic groups. We also face a rising prevalence of long-term conditions, dementia, disability and frailty related to rapid population ageing, which has big implications both for individuals and for health and social care systems.

The holy grail of prevention would be to reduce inequalities in the health of older people, to improve their overall health and to ‘compress morbidity’, delaying the onset of poor health until the last few years of life. The King’s Fund has contributed to this debate with its work on adult behaviour change and improving care for older people, and its Time To Think Differently programme of work. But now, somewhat surprisingly, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has added its voice, in the guise of guidelines released for consultation on preventing disability, frailty and dementia in later life.

‘So what?’ you cry, yet another bunch of stuff to wade through. But this time it’s different – what is so interesting about these guidelines is not so much the detail but the principles and linking themes behind them, and the fact that, instead of just advising clinicians, the guidelines include direct advice to the government on health and wider social policy.

So what’s in it? For starters, NICE calls for government interventions to make smoking and drinking less affordable and accessible; and to make the maintenance of healthy weight and regular exercise more affordable and accessible. Hardwiring these recommendations on affordability into local and national public health strategies is a challenge to those, of any party, who do not see price as a policy lever on behaviours other than tobacco use. Given that Public Health England also supports minimum unit pricing of alcohol, two important government health bodies have now put their cards on the table….[continues]

Read the article in full on the King’s Fund Blog

Innovating the Delivery of Care for Older People – My Thoughts

Daniel Sommer is a Foundation Year 2 Doctor at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He is an aspiring Geriatrician. He tweets at @danielf90 Web

Another Monday morning at work, and I was looking forward to another week of inspiration with my fantastic boss in interface geriatrics as part of my hospital’s OPAL (Older Peoples’ Assessment & Liaison) team and in our Older Peoples Rapid Access Clinic. Before I got going, I undertook a cursory check of my e-mails and I saw something slightly out of the ordinary – an e-mail from Professor David Oliver (of British-Geriatrics-Society-President-elect fame). “What are you doing Wednesday?” he asks. “Come to my conference at The King’s Fund!” he beckons. My consultant’s response when I asked her permission was “You’d better have already said yes!”. Off I went. Continue reading

Why does ‘integrated care’ matter?

The jargon of ‘integrated care’ is much-used in health policy and management circles. But why does ‘integrated care’ matter? And what will it mean for patients?Capture

The Kings Fund have just developed a short animation designed to address these questions.  A large team were involved, including Prof David Oliver, President Elect of the British Geriatrics Society.  It aims to bring integrated care to life for anyone involved in improving patient care. If those working towards integrated care can share this vision with others in their local health and care system, then there is a real chance they can make integrated care happen.

Integrated care: making it happen

Too often, care is fragmented with services reflecting professional and institutional boundaries when it should be co-ordinated around the needs of patients. Delivering integrated, or joined-up, care for people with complex needs should be a priority for the NHS and core business for everyone working in health and social care.

We’d like to help make integrated care a reality across the country.

Our short animation aims to bring integrated care to life for anyone interested in improving care.

The full details can be found on the King’s Fund Website.

Read David Oliver’s recent article on the Making Health and Care Fit for an Ageing Population conference on 22nd October.