The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall strategic and operational work of the BAA. Board Directors are both responsible for specific work areas and act as a liaison between a committee or work group. The current Board has 14 Directors, supported by our Marketing & Communications Manager and our PA. The Board meets quarterly and holds an annual strategy day to review the forward plan. Board minutes are published on the BAA website.


Executive Team

During the last eighteen months, we have developed a more active executive team to focus and maintain momentum between Board meetings. The President meets regularly with the Vice President, Past President, Treasurer and Marketing & Comms Manager. Each member of the executive team holds lead responsibilities for key objective areas and in supporting other Board Directors. These areas of responsibility are –

• President – Chairs the Board, is President and supports the Board Directors of Membership and Professional Development.
• Vice President – Supports the President and supports the Board Directors of Education, Early Professionals, and Professional and Workforce Support
• Past President – Supports the President and the Board Director of Service Quality Committee
• Treasurer – Supports the President and the Board Director for E-Learning
• Marketing & Comms Manager – Supports all Board and links with the Board Directors for Conference, Regional Groups and Promoting Audiology & Publications

 

2023/2024 Board Members
President's Blog 20th February 2024

Wellbeing is everything

I was browsing the Health Service Journal this week, and there is an article about the Care Quality Commission rolling out training for their inspectors on delivering difficult news, having supportive conversations, and identifying signs of distress. (ref: Townsend, E. CQC to train staff in ‘relaying distressing news’, following headteacher’s death. HSJ online 8 February 2024).  This follows a coroner ruling that an Ofsted inspection contributed to the death of a teacher.This made me think again about how pressured many of our colleagues are feeling right now with the current increased scrutiny of audiology services.  To be frank, I believe that it is quite right that we are expected to provide evidence of the quality of our services, to be accountable and open to improving constantly. But I do recognise that this has come as a challenge for some who haven’t been expected to do this previously, and that the uninvited and sometimes negative feedback comes as a shock. Furthermore, some heads of service have then been expected to fix some serious issues with little outside support and no extra resources.

So, there is little wonder that many of our colleagues are experiencing frustration or emotional distress.

However, we know that while the main focus of healthcare professionals is on the well-being of their patients, it is important for audiologists to prioritize their own well-being as well.

So whilst some of you may regard BAA as just another voice constantly asking you all to engage with quality assurance, improvements, CPD, do more, etc- we are also very aware of our members wellbeing and we are constantly asking for more support for our profession from NHS leadership and others.

In fact NHS leadership has recognised the effect of recent review findings and improvement programmes on the wellbeing of our profession across the UK, and we hoped that would mean some urgent support packages for colleagues affected by the issues, but there has been variation in what has been provided locally.

At BAA we have tried to provide what support we can given our limited capacity, and much of our time gone into supporting with practical tools and advice and guidance for audiology practice itself- such as our newly launched QIT tool which gives concrete examples and templates for the service improvements that will be invaluable for many.

But we also decided to run a course of supportive workshops for colleagues who may need these most urgently at the moment- those from services identified as “Incident sites” in the NHS England Paediatric audiology programme. These will be externally-led, closed workshops; we won’t be attending, and what is discussed will not be shared with us or anyone else. But we do hope that our facilitator will be able to share some of the things that colleagues find helpful, to inform what support could be offered in the future.

For the rest of you, I urge you to reflect on how you are feeling and seek out support if you need it. Both within the NHS and private provision, employers have a duty of care to their employees and most will have something to offer in the way of wellbeing support should you ask for it. Within the NHS, it may be useful to reach out to regional healthcare science leadership who are there to support the healthcare science workshop, particularly if it is related to the current systemic issues.

I have myself felt the pressure from my various roles and at times felt overwhelmed over the last year or so. But there is great support to be had from colleagues and peers, so please do just reach out to your immediate colleagues, and wider networks to support each other. We really are all in this together, and I have been really heartened by how many people have been willing to step up and support their peers.

I have also tried to become better at recognising when I need to just take time out to look after my own wellbeing. Please do remember to reflect on how you are feeling from time to time and put things in place to look after yourself as much as possible. We cannot afford to lose any of the audiology workforce, so taking time now to protect yourself against burn out will ultimately help others.

Sometimes what’s needed is just forgetting about audiology and making a little time to do things that give you joy. So todays homework is to identify some things that bring you joy- however small- and do at least one of those things every day. So far for me this week, that has included catching up with friends over a pint, making an unidentifiable object in pottery class, and occasionally just getting up from my desk at home and dancing to a whole song whilst my dog watches on bemused.

Take care of yourselves,

Sam

Board Annual Awards

British Academy of Audiology Annual Awards

Every year at the BAA annual conference, we take the time to acknowledge those individuals and teams who have excelled or shown exceptional commitment to the Audiology profession over the past year.

Previous award winners can be found here.

This award will recognise an Audiology clinician who has gone above and beyond to improve the experience for a patient. The award is focused on patient care, and we particularly welcome testimonials and case studies from patients or colleagues, highlighting the reasons they should be nominated.

This award is presented in honour of Peggy Chalmers.  She contributed immeasurably to Audiology, improving professional standards and training, and supporting hundreds of students from the UK and overseas. Her hard work and enthusiasm inspired many professionals in Audiology. With this award, we hope each winner will continue to inspire with their excellent work.

The prize is awarded to a team that has worked together to improve the quality of service in their area, in particular showing innovative and original ideas.  Teams that work within an audiology department, in education, in research, or in an organisational capacity, are all eligible.

The BAA Team of the Year Award was created in 2004 to celebrate the coming together of different professions within Audiology.

This award will recognise a clinician who has gone above and beyond to provide a supportive learning environment for students in placement, providing leadership, guidance and inspiration. The award is focused on the mentoring of students, and we particularly welcome testimonials and case studies from students, colleagues and university placement teams highlighting the reason a particular person should be nominated.

The award is presented in honour of Paul Doody, an extraordinary Audiologist committed to training. He made a huge difference to the lives of numerous Audiologists.

This award is given to the student who performs well during their clinical placement.  Nominations are welcomed from departments to highlight exceptional students who have had a positive impact on the service during their placement.

This award is presented in honour of Lisa Bayliss, a 20-year-old student Audiologist who worked at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Sadly, Lisa’s life was tragically taken on her way home from work in 1992. Lisa is greatly missed by all who met her, but especially her family, colleagues, and her patients. Lisa was kind, caring, and worked well with everyone she met.  She was described as a great people person.

This award is for Audiology clinicians working in paediatrics. It is aimed at those in any area of paediatrics who, it is felt, have influenced the field. We welcome nominations from colleagues, patients, and families, highlighting why this person stands out from the crowd.

The nominated person should have worked in their current position for at least 6 months.

This award is open to students on all Audiology courses, leading to qualification or registration.  We invite Higher Education Institutes to nominate a student you consider an outstanding Early Audiology Professional. Whether Foundation degree, undergraduate or post-graduate (for undergraduate students, consider those in the second year and above).

The student may have made significant contributions to their group, mentored other students, experience hearing loss themselves, and overcome barriers to communication to work in the profession, be studying against the odds, or have developed innovative practice or project work. Equally, the student you choose may have achieved a high academic standard that you wish to celebrate and recognise.

The award is given for the best contribution to a BAA publication.  The recipient is chosen from all articles printed in the previous year’s publications, and is chosen by the BAA publicity and communications team.

This award is presented in honour of Jos Millar, who showed a long-standing dedication to Audiology.  He started his career in audiology at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, and later in his career, he embarked on a challenge to set up a paediatric service in his hometown of Ballymena.

This award is given to the person who has exceptional feedback during the examination process of the Higher Training Scheme. The HTS committee selects the winner based on examination feedback.

This award is presented in honour of Richard May, who loved Audiology.  He was a student in the first intake of the MSc Audiology course in ISVR in 1972, and was the first Audiological Scientist in the country, at the Sussex Throat and Ear Hospital in Brighton.  He died suddenly in 1982, aged 32, and was described by his family as a wonderful, kind and clever man.

This award is presented for outstanding research by a student or early professional.  The award winner will be selected from all free papers presenting at the BAA conference, delivered by a student or early professional. A student is classed as anyone training and not yet qualified in Audiology, e.g. PTP, STP students, those doing apprenticeships, and an Early Professional is classed as those up to 5 years post-qualified.

This award is presented in honour of David Baguley, who loved to share knowledge. He was a prolific publisher of his research, and he spoke at conferences for professionals and the public to share that knowledge for the benefit of those with Hearing Loss and Tinnitus.

One of David’s passions was to encourage and support trainees and young professionals. He gave freely of his time to support others in their research, and this award, aimed at early professionals, is a fitting tribute to a man who will live on through the impact his writing and research has on the audiology community.