BGS Scotland


BGS Scotland

BGS Scotland is the professional organisation of doctors who specialise in the medicine of old age in Scotland. The branch has 280 or so members and is affiliated to the main British Geriatrics Society in London (BGS).

We welcome suggestions and input from members of BGS Scotland or from representatives of organisations sharing the interests of the Society. Contact the Web Editor, Dr Allan MacDonald of Belford Hospital.

Thousands of care home places lost since turn of the century

Thousands of care home places in Scotland have been lost since the onset of devolution prompting fears that the country’s “most vulnerable” are suffering and demands for government action. There are now claims that ministers have failed to plan for the impact of an ageing population, despite repeated warnings. But the Scottish Government says its policies are now directed towards ensuring that people can live independently to an older age in their own homes. The number of registered care homes places fell by 3,685 since the turn of the century to 42,026 last year, according to official Scottish parliament figures. This includes 83 fewer local authority and NHS places last year, 290 fewer spaces in private facilities, and 103 fewer in voluntary facilities compared to 2014.
Read more in The Scotsman

Which screening tool(s) should clinicians use for the detection of delirium in older, hospitalised patients?

Kirsty Hendry is a research assistant based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary having recently completed her PhD at the University of Glasgow. In this blog she discusses her recent Age and Ageing paper looking at screening of delirium in older, acute care in-patients. Kirsty can be contacted at

A&ADelirium, suggested to be the most common psychiatric disorder suffered by older hospitalised individuals, has a low clinical awareness. This is despite existing guidelines such as those produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) being in general agreement that delirium screening is important in older hospitalised patients. 

There are a number of negative outcomes associated with delirium including increased risk of falls, dehydration, long-term cognitive impairment, institutionalisation and mortality. Identifying patients with delirium is essential to facilitate good patient care and to allow for the appropriate support of relatives and carers. There are a wide range of delirium screening tools available with limited validation of these tools within large, representative cohorts. MOTYB How do clinicians go about screening for delirium effectively? (more…)

If it’s everyone’s business, lets make a plan

From the BGS blog: Pamela Levack is Medical Director of the charity PATCH – Palliation And The Caring Hospital contactus@patchscotland.compatch

David Oliver’s recent blog in the BMJ End of Life Care in hospital is everyone’s business, reports on the findings of the recent Royal College of Physicians Audit into End of Life Care. The two main findings, a need to increase the number of specialist palliative care doctors and specialist palliative care nurses in hospital and to ensure that newly qualified doctors have more knowledge and confidence dealing with end of life situations, match the aims of our recently established charity PATCH Palliation And The Caring Hospital.

PATCH is presently a Scottish charity but the issues are the same throughout the UK. It was inspired by the Acute Palliative Care Unit in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee. This was established in 2009 with charitable money but is now NHS funded. Based on ten-year hospital palliative care team data, we believe there is a population of patients in a busy acute hospital who benefit from an intensive palliative care approach from a number of disciplines including social work, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, pharmacy, spiritual care, and pain service in a dedicated on site unit. (more…)

A life-course perspective necessary to improve the health of older adults

Dorota Chapko is a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a double-major in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and in Anthropology. In this blog she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper on the triad of impairment; she tweets at@dorotachapko

Although frailty is a central concept in clinical assessment of older people, there is no consensus definition. The concept is certainly multifactorial but physical components dominate. However, it is known that age-associated physical decline is likely to be accompanied by cognitive and emotional deficits. The ‘triad of impairment’ (triad) recognises the co-occurrence of cognitive, emotional and physical deficits in late-life and might be a useful alternative to ‘frailty’. (more…)