Annual Report 2011
- Created on 03 October 2012
- Written by Dr Donald Farquhar, Retiring Chair, BGS Scotland
The Scottish Council has met formally on 3 occasions over the last year – with an increasing proportion of BGS Scotland’s business being done by e-mail.
Meetings - The past 12 months have seen 3 successful BGS Scotland meetings. A special one day meeting on “Community Geriatrics” took place at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in June 2011. This event masterminded by Dr Brendan Martin was highly successful with thought-provoking challenges identified for our speciality. The Autumn meeting held at the Royal College in Edinburgh had almost 100 delegates and included a high quality CPD session on orthogeriatrics. Today’s Spring Meeting in Fife continues the flavour of high quality Scottish meetings – with specific CPD focus on delirium and cognition. As the NHS in the 4 nations continues to diverge it is crucial that our speciality maintains its regular Scottish meetings to highlight service developments and promote networking of new ideas. The trend to incorporating a high quality CPD session on a specific topic within the meetings is a welcome development.
Health Service Initiatives - BGS Scotland has continued to engage, to a degree, with “Reshaping Care for Older People”. This government policy has multiple strands and we have representation on several of the more relevant ones – including their stakeholder group, care home group and the polypharmacy group. The overall strategy is liked to “Change Fund” developments – designed to try to shift care from secondary to primary care. The “Change Fund” finances have had a patchy impact for the speciality – with new consultant posts or sessions funded by some areas – but little or no impact in other regions. The “Reshaping Care for Older People” meetings appear to have diminished in the last year – perhaps effected by the Scottish elections and subsequent review of policies by the new government has been disappointing. The other important initiative in the last year has been “Improving Care for Older People in hospital”. This was triggered by several adverse reports of care in 2011. The Cabinet Secretary ordered a programme of visits to acute hospitals to reassure the public that elder care in all departments of our hospitals is at the required standard. The visits started in November 2011 and are ongoing. The visitors are focussing on direct “hands on” care – with specific interest in capacity, cognition, delirium, medicines management, and falls assessment. BGS Scotland had representation on the Stakeholder Reference Group and is taking up a seat on the longer term Stakeholder Review Group. The latter group is intended to review the results of the visits and recommend areas for improvement.
Training - Geriatric Medicine’s establishment remains unchanged after last years review by Scottish Government – with up to 85 trainees permitted across the country. The speciality continues to attract high calibre doctors from core medicine with 31 applicants for the 13 ST3 post this year. Overall trainee satisfaction as judged by the GMC survey remains high. The Scottish Trainee meeting was held in Perth and was deemed to be very successful. Trainees continue to gain consultant posts relatively easily on gaining their CCT – although there continue to be concerns over a “bulge” of trainees in the next couple of years. Both junior representatives on Scottish Council demitted office during the last year (Dr Claire Steel and Dr Jo Ford) – our thanks for all their efforts and good wishes for their future career. The 2 new representatives on Council are Dr Sarah Alder and Dr Zoe Muir. In order to protect the training establishment, it is crucial that BGS Scotland maintain an accurate database of our consultant establishment, existing vacancies, and future developments. Please respond to the periodic requests for information in this area.
UK Perspective - Everybody should be aware of the substantial changes to the UK governance structure of the British Geriatric Society – as suggested by President Elect, Prof Paul Knight. The Chair of Scottish Council remains part of the new Trustee Board. The new Executive Board, where much of the regular business will be done, has no formal regional representation. Most positions on the Executive Board will be appointed using a UK recruitment process based on merit. The Trustee Board is responsible for overseeing the Executive Board. Scotland will have a strong position in the near future, when Prof Knight takes on the Presidency.
Finances - Finances remain healthy with autumn and spring meetings continuing to generate a profit. However, engaging the pharmaceutical industry is becoming more challenging. The costs of Council meetings have fallen due to their reduced frequency.
Congratulation - This year has seen a very large number of new consultant appointments – these included Claire McKay (Hairmyres), Laura Peacock (Hairmyres), Alison Craig (Monklands), Sarah Coutts (Edinburgh Royal), Susan Shenkin (Liberton), Rachael Murphy (Edinburgh Royal), Claire Copeland (Crosshouse), Elizabeth Kean (Fife), Marie Williams (Fife), James Shaw (Tayside), Deepa Sumukadas (Tayside) and Dirk Habicht (Perth).
We awarded several prizes over the year. Dr Louise Burton won the Kate Johnston Prize. Mr Jim Zhong won the prize for the Ferguson Anderson essay. Dr Andrew Breckinbridge won the EBM prize and Dr Eilidh Hill won the Taylor Brown prize.
Acknowledgements - I am now finishing my 2 year period as Chair of BGS Scotland and I would like to acknowledge the assistance of every one on the Scottish Council over this period. The Officer Bearers – Dr Sandip Ghosh, Dr Brendan Martin and Dr Stuart Johnston have worked diligently to support and enhance the aims of the Society. I wish Dr Martin and Dr Johnston well for the next 2 years.