Sue Falkingham BAA President 2017-2018
President’s Blog 20th August 2018
The last 2 weeks at BAA have been quieter due to the summer holidays but the main activity has come from getting the tender out for the new website and the interviews in place for the web designers that might be interested in building the new site. It isn’t that long since the last website update but the way we interact with online media has changed so rapidly our current website does feel out dated and clunky. We are hoping to have the new website ready for conference in November, although this is only 10 weeks away now.
I’d like to thank the Publicity and Communications team for their hard work getting to this stage. I don’t want to tell them yet how much more work they will need to do over the next 10 weeks when we have a designer in place, and I am glad that this revamp is not my piece of work so I can just watch from a little distance.
As this is my blog I thought this might be an opportunity to tell you a little about the day job that has been taking a back seat for most of this year but has had a busy 2 weeks since I last blogged.
Most of you will know that I work for a hearing aid manufacturer but many of you may not be aware that the English NHS Hearing Aid Tender was released 3 weeks ago, it is by units the second biggest hearing instrument contract in the world. This is a vital piece of work that ensures the hearing instruments fitted by the NHS are up to date and reach a minimum quality standard. The buyers at NHS Supply Chain release a very detailed specification which for the first time has included hearing instruments for adults, children, niche product lines, such as bone conduction and CROS systems as well as accessories like tubing and impression material and earmoulds. Previously earmoulds and accessories have been separate to the hearing instruments tender.
As a manufacturer there are many legal requirements that must be fulfilled to go onto any NHS contract, this is a lengthy piece of work. My role is to look at the specification for the products and prove that the products we wish to offer match or exceed that specification, have all the required documentation and are ready to be tested if required.
The process in my company is taken very seriously and so for nearly 3 weeks I have been away from my own desk working within our small team exclusively on this for many hours beyond my normal day. I’m guessing that those of you that have done an IQIPs process will know the type of days I am talking about.
So, the button on the tender submission must be pressed by 3 pm today and I will emerge from the process and back to normality – whatever that is for me in this crazy Presidential year.
Why did I decide to tell you about this here? It’s a quality thing.
The BAA stands for quality in Audiology Services and as such we often talk about supporting IQIPs and the Scottish, Wales and Northern Ireland quality standards. We look at quality of educational courses on behalf of the RCCP. We provide assessors to ensure quality in Higher Training. We encourage Audiologists to complete CPD to ensure quality improvements in our practice. The hearing aid tenders, and Scotland with Northern Ireland have a separate one ensures quality in the hearing instruments that are available to Audiologists in the Health Services. BAA have within the Service Quality team the Audiology Supplies Group who work with NHS Supply Chain to set the product specification on the English Tender – ensuring quality.
I might be tired and it’s certainly a tense time for all the staff working in the hearing instrument companies but the process with its rigor and quality assurance is another way Audiologists ensure quality.
So, my apologies to any of you that may be waiting for an email response from me currently, I will be starting back on my inbox tomorrow, I’m so glad this is not an annual tender.
President's Blog 6th August 2018
I’ve been back from holiday just a few days but I spent Friday recording an online tinnitus training module with Michelle Booth, David Stockdale from BTA and Beth-Anne Culhane from St George’s University Hospital. The module will be available from November and I would like to thank David, Beth-Anne and Michelle for their time commitment to this.
I also participated in the post judging call for conference abstracts. Sarah Hodgson, Matthew Allsop and David Maidment have worked very hard to judge and rank the approximately one hundred abstracts that were submitted and decide on the ones that will be asked to present at conference. They need to be high quality, relevant, fit in with the rest of the agenda and not supplicate work already presented at other conferences. It is no small task and due to holidays has been completed in a very short time frame. It was good to discuss their choices, work to fit them onto the agenda in appropriate slots and finish our programme for this year.
My thanks as always go to Claire Benton and the Fitwise Team, Phyllis Tait and Sarah Black who coordinate our whole conference.
If you have had your abstract accepted for an oral presentation Sarah Black will contact you shortly. All I ask of you and all our other speakers is to follow the timescales that Sarah asks for submission of abstracts and presentations and please enjoy the experience.
The latest programme for conference can be found here https://www.fitwise.co.uk/files/6715/3270/6121/Website_-_BAA_2018_Draft_Programme_v6.pdf
The free paper speakers will be added as they confirm they are able to attend.
I’m going to make a plea for more nominations to our Annual Awards. Every award is listed here: https://www.baaudiology.org/conference/awards/awards-2018/#.W2dD89JKg2x
This year we already have nominations for every award but we love to receive more.
The Lisa Bayliss award is now given to the student who performs the best during their clinical placement.
Audiologist of the Year Award in Memory of Peggy Chalmers. An award that will recognise an Audiologist who stands out from the crowd with regards to patient care. We are looking for an individual who has gone above and beyond to put the patient first, or improve their experience in even a small way, making a difference to them. This is my favourite award I love reading these nominations.
Team of the Year. The prize is awarded to a team which has worked together to improve the quality of service in their area.
Paul Doody Supervisor of the Year Award. Paul was an extraordinary Audiologist and totally committed to training, he made a huge difference to the lives of numerous Audiologists. Sadly, shortly before the Glasgow conference and after organising the Associate track for us, Paul passed away. Although he himself would not consider this an honour or indeed necessary, his family, friends and colleagues strongly disagree with him. They and the BAA Board feel he had all the qualities all nominees for this award should aspire to.
This award will recognise an Audiologist who stands out from the crowd with regards to supervising and supporting a student while on placement.
BAA Paediatric Audiologist of the Year - Sponsored by Phonak. This award is for audiologists working in the field of paediatrics. It is aimed at those in any area of paediatrics who, it is felt, have influenced the audiological world.
All awards close for nomination on 24th August so please don’t delay your nominations. Visit https://www.baaudiology.org/conference/awards/awards-2018/#.W2dEmdJKg2x
President's Blog 24th July 2018
As promised on Monday I have collated some of the information from the BAA Board Meeting yesterday for this blog.
In my report I highlighted the Advanced Practitioner work in Elderly Care – we are currently looking to comment on a job specification and curriculum for these roles by early August so if anybody has a keen interest in looking at those with a view to making comments you are welcome to contact me.
Michelle Booth is getting ready to record a Tinnitus Online Training Module with the British Tinnitus Association and this will be ready for launch at conference.
In our Treasurers update from Barbara Gregg we noted that our expenditure in representing BAA at meetings with other organisations was a little above budget but this is due to an increase in our regular attendance at key organisations as well as attending more meetings on workforce, education and registration for example.
Wendy our Consultant CEO presented the feedback from members to our workforce email. Wendy has followed up with many respondents by telephone and we will start to share case studies and good practice information with members over the next few months. We are also going to ask our Regional Leads to think about adding a workforce section to their meetings as it rarely makes the agenda but always gets talked about in the breaks at those meetings.
Wendy also shared the Annual Report from the Alliance on Hearing Loss and Deafness which will be available for members to read on our website.
Karen Shepherd has started work on the next Collaborative Event with BSHAA and BSA, the initial ideas for the agenda include workforce and career attraction. The event is likely to be the week commencing 4th March 2019 in a more southern location than the last event. Details will be released as venues are agreed, so watch out for that.
Karen has also been sharing details of the work from the Trail Blazer Group looking at the Level 5 Apprenticeship in Hearing Aid Audiology. This has been approved to go out for final public consultation and BAA will be writing a letter of support for this standard. The new Apprentice level 5 in HAA does not sit in the Healthcare Science stream and discussions on Apprenticeships and availability generally was heard too. BAA have released some guidance for departments on this here: https://www.baaudiology.org/indexphpnews/news-home/looking-apprenticeship-provider/
In Yorkshire Michelle Foster has been working with a cross healthcare science group on Apprenticeships and she will also be writing a case study on how this has helped them look at apprentices and funding for BAA.
Barbara Gregg shared information with board from Northern Ireland and was pleased to say that the Heads of Service are working to release a Quality Standards in Paediatric Audiology document in the Autumn with the Government. Barbara will be holding a BAA Northern Ireland Heads of Service Meeting later this year too.
Kath Lewis updated on the work of the Service Quality Team, they have many documents in progress but are ready with a final version of the Vestibular Quality Standards which will be out soon. SQC currently do not have a Scottish Representative on the team and are actively recruiting. If you are based in Scotland and would like to join this vital team please get in touch through BAA Admin.
Heather Dowber updated on regional groups and although we are awaiting feedback it seems the South-East meeting was well attended and informative. We have a new regional representative for Scotland who is Christine De Placido based at Queen Margaret’s University and Heather is working with her to organise a Scottish Regional meeting.
There are still gaps in our regional network and engagement in these events is key so if you would like to get involved in regional meetings please contact through the BAA admin email address.
Education welcomed Tim Wilding onto Board and Lizanne and Tim gave insight into current work within that team. There is a section on the Staying Ahead Meeting Agenda for Educational Institutes as the area is so key to all other aspects of Audiology.
Charlotte Rogers has formally become the Board Lead for Early Professionals rather than just students and is slowly building contacts, ideas and a small team. One item Charlotte is working on is a new BAA Mentoring scheme. We hope it will not take long to offer this to members. Charlotte will also be looking at a member leaflet to attract students and getting ready for significant input into the website design to attract Early professionals and those thinking about a career in Audiology.
Claire Benton was pleased to tell Board that over 100 abstracts had been submitted for conference and the quality of them all was excellent. The programme team are working to a tight deadline to select the oral presentations to finish the conference agenda. We know some people will be disappointed that they do not get offered an oral presentation but quality is high this year so selection will be difficult. Claire pointed out the Conference Blog is now up and running and the next blogs will focus on our Key Note Speakers, the blog can be found at: https://baaconference2018.wordpress.com/
Our afternoon was spent on the website design submitted by Publications and Communications which has a tight deadline if we want to be live by conference. I’ll take the opportunity to thank the Publicity and Communications team for their hard work in this already and look forward to updates that I can share as they go through the process.
Some of you may have seen the Board Introduction video I recorded yesterday, It’s very casual but I hope it helped to put faces to some of the names and I do realise my face is missing from it but I’m sure you are all used to seeing me.
I am headed off for a week’s leave now as I’m sure many of you will be over the summer. Have fun whatever your summer brings and I will be back in time to catch up with emails before the next update.
President's Blog 23rd July 2018
A very short blog today as the BAA Board Meeting takes place today and I will write a longer blog tomorrow to update you on some of that meeting, please check back here on Wednesday.
So in a very short blog I want to just focus on a couple of people that I think are doing a great job for BAA and I have been remiss in not public acknowledging before now.
Sara Coulson (Working at De Montfort University), took over as editor of the BAA Members Magazine in the Autumn Edition last year. It isn't an easy job as sourcing articles of the quality we would like is not always easy. Some editions we have too much content and others the editor is chasing for promised articles. I received my magazine last week and just wanted to say how great I felt the content was. A mix of sources from Students to BAA Teams and established professionals were included and I felt the magazine would spark interest and conversation in lots of different ways.
Great job Sara and thank you for your hard work and putting your editorial stamp on the magazine.
Hanna Jeffry, (Working at Aneurin Bevan UHB in Wales), is the chair of the Service Quality Committee (SQC) for BAA. Quietly Hanna has been working to ensure that BAA produce documents that are relevant and take account of the latest information. Hanna was a key author of the BAA Direct Referral Guidance and has already started to review that document, with the team in light of the new NICE Guidance. The team on Service Quality is a hard working one and the opportunity to say thank you to them too is important.
Thank you Hanna and the SQC Team for the documents and the hard work behind the scenes in producing great documentation for practice.
There are so many volunteers on BAA teams and also Board I could go on forever but for now my thanks to Sara and Hanna.
President’s Blog 9th July 2018
2 weeks never sounds like a long time between blogs but in some 2-week periods a lot happens.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 2 weeks with a lot of different professionals, both within hearing healthcare and wider professionals.
The first meeting was about a new Advanced Practitioner Role being developed in Older Person’s care. BAA had been invited to participate in the discussion for the curriculum and role descriptors. It’s an interesting discussion about developing a very holistic role that tries to ensure a person with multiple comorbidities still gets very appropriate and specialist care when needed, but that monitoring and ongoing support could be better provided in community settings by one practitioner rather than 5 or 6 all visiting separately. The professional representation there was from, Royal College of Psychiatry, Royal College Podiatry, Education, Nurse consultant NHS, Pharmaceutical society, Allied health professionals lead NHS, Occupational Therapists, Charitable sector providing services called, Friends of the elderly, Salford Royal Hospitals, Podiatrist in private practice and public health, Royal College of Speech and language therapists, Physiotherapist, Dietetics Association, Paramedics, Orthoptists, Public Health England, and a consultant Nurse Practitioner managing services of others. The group is still missing a general practitioner representative and a social worker.
The issue audiology as a profession will have with this qualification is that we are not all on a statutory register, and this role will need someone that is. However, I’m still very interested in this new professional and how they will engage with audiology in general and with those in our profession that are registered with HCPC.
I also had a meeting with Charlotte Rogers. Charlotte is the BAA Board lead for Early Professionals. We are keen to encourage those just starting in their careers to engage with BAA as an outside influence on their practice from any work environment they are in. Charlotte is working on a new Mentoring Scheme that looks to support both early professionals and those changing roles too. I hope there is some output from this work after our Board Meeting this month. These things do not have to be complicated, they do sometimes need to get started and be tweaked as we go and I’m sure having something like this will build networks for our early professionals within the supportive environment of BAA.
I’ve organised, attended and had reports from 3 meetings on joint working across audiology in the last 2 weeks. There are lots of facets to this work and things will not happen from any of these overnight but all the meetings were positive with a great impetus for change being shown. Technology, education and people are changing and to support that we need to think wider than just BAA. In this blog I can’t tell you about any of the outputs from those 3 important meetings for different reasons, with joint working agreeing a message to all organisations involved does take longer but getting that right is the first stage to moving forwards together.
These meetings interlink with work other Board Members and Teams of BAA are undertaking, and I’m beginning to think that the role of BAA President is to conduct some sort of orchestra to try and get all the strands of work following the same overall pattern and plan to create the desired output for members.
The conversation that has meant the most to me over the last week is with a retiring professional. After a long career in NHS Audiology the passion for what we do is still absolute. The concern for what is left behind is paramount and the ability to demonstrate the need for our skilled senior clinicians is key here.
It’s a message I am trying to get across, and with the help of Wendy our CEO and Michelle Booth the work to collect data and information on services is ongoing. I know some of you have responded to Wendy’s message to have conversations about workforce with her and this information and the telephone calls that are scheduled will feed into the One Voice campaign that the Academy of Healthcare Science are undertaking. The issues audiology has in its workforce are not unique and go across the whole HealthCare Science sector.
BAA are committed to NHS Audiology Services and raise our workforce issues at all levels at every opportunity. Recruitment, retention and progression make a profession that is sustainable. We will do all we can at Board Level to ensure that Audiology continues to be a topic on the agenda at every possible opportunity.
I’m being asked about a few simple changes and then a reissue of the BAA Scope of Practice document often now, and whilst the document we issued in 2016 was withdrawn there is a 2014 document available.
There is work underway to consider how this document is updated by BAA now and I hope to tell you more after the July Board Meeting. It needs to be clear on its purpose and target audience and stick to that as it can’t be one document that covers every situation or task with specific timings and staff level, that does not allow sensible flexibility of workforce. It does however need to be strong on the work that requires highly specialised skills, knowledge and qualifications.
President's Blog 25th June 2018
This week I must focus on the release of the NICE Guidance in England on Adult Hearing Loss : Assessment and Management. The committee that includes Professor Kevin Munro, Dr Mel Ferguson and Jane Wild have produced an evidence based document to guide good practice that at its heart wants our patients to receive high quality cost effective care.
I’m pleased to tell you the recommendations document is only 20 pages long and is a must read for all Audiologists, in my opinion. Download the Guidance from this page
It’s a fantastic piece of work that will be used in conjunction with other evidence to go back to North Staffordshire Commissioners to challenge their decision to remove hearing aid provision for mild and moderate hearing losses. The document strongly supports early intervention and also provision of two hearing systems where required and wanted by the patient. The Guidance removes any arbitrary pure tone average eligibility criteria and instead states “Offer hearing aids to adults whose hearing loss affects their ability to communicate and hear, including awareness of warning sounds and the environment, and appreciation of music.” Firmly placing the eligibility criteria that North Staffordshire CCG introduced against best practice recommendations.
Just before the publication of the guidance this week BAA decided to attend a G.P. Educational event, taking an exhibition stand. We saw this as an opportunity to engage with G.P.s to promote the guidance but also the role of Audiologists and the hearing instruments available through NHS provision. The agenda had a speaker from the NICE Committee a retired G.P. himself, with a hearing loss, Ted Leverton is working as an Action on Hearing Loss volunteer trying to educate GPs. By the time of the talk we had been engaging with the G.P.s in the exhibition for a couple of hours and had positive and useful discussions with them. Many hadn’t seen the type of hearing systems available currently on the NHS contract and were surprised to see slim tube fits and no beige bananas. We had summarised key messages from the Lancet report on dementia risk factors and the Cochran’s review on heading aid effectiveness and handed those out to them to help emphasise their important role in getting appropriate intervention early.
We attended Ted Leverton’s presentation and although we might have phrased things differently chatting to him afterwards he explained that in these situations it has to be pitched at a very general level with clear, what are the benefits to you and your practice as well as the patient messaging.
The average GP sees at least 4 people a day with hearing loss so what can a G.P. do to help? Tim Leverton suggested:
Encourage patient acceptance
Reluctance to admit disability/ageing
Patients fear prejudice
Average wait 10 years
27%+ say GP deterred from getting help
Refer early for hearing aids
Aids are fiddly to use -getting them earlier means you get used to the maintenance etc whilst you are more dexterous.
Brain has to relearn signal interpretation – getting hearing aids earlier also makes this easier.
Its so important to have a new NICE Guidance but there are evidence gaps identified by the guidance, in fact there are 3 pages of these identified from, What is the most effective route of administration of steroids as a first-line treatment for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss, to What is the clinical and cost effectiveness of microsuction compared with irrigation to remove earwax?
Perhaps a more surprising gap in the evidence is the one below.
“What is the clinical and cost effectiveness of monitoring and follow-up for adults with hearing loss post-intervention compared with usual care?
Why this is important
The evidence review for the NICE guideline on hearing loss found a lack of evidence to establish the benefits of monitoring and follow-up, how they should be delivered and across what time periods. Robust evidence is needed to establish the clinical and cost effectiveness of monitoring and follow-up, and to understand how and when they might best be used in clinical practice. This will inform future guidelines and policy.”
Let’s hope the inclusion in the guidance of the evidence gaps leads to more research funding to fill those gaps.
I’m just going to finish by pointing out a key recommendation that might affect a number of clinics that routinely offer only telephone follow ups, the guidance is in favour of face to face follow ups and says, “Offer adults with hearing aids a face-to-face follow-up audiology appointment 6 to 12 weeks after the hearing aids are fitted, with the option to attend this appointment by telephone or electronic communication if the person prefer.”
I think we are in a people business and I want to see people I provide hearing systems to face to face for a follow up. However as a patient myself I wish remote monitoring and tele-health were better than they currently are, so I didn’t have to turn up at clinics when I’m feeling well, I’m much too busy for that. I know it’s dual standards, I’m trying hard to accept the way of the world is moving towards tele-health but I support the guidance in it’s emphasis of the first choice being face to face follow up as it helps clinicians justify that option to commissioners and managers.
President’s Blog 11th June 2018
I want to start by reminding members and non-members that the Regional Group Leads have planned their meetings for the rest of the year and now have topic ideas ready. The first meeting of this set will be of the South East Region and Anna Hollingdale & Maria Kyriacou bring you a free meeting for members, held at Worthing Health Education Centre, Worthing Hospital on Verification and Validation including reference to both Adults and Paediatric. You can find more details on the events and regional website pages. https://www.baaudiology.org/events/regional/#.Wxz8Kkgvw2w
If this meeting isn’t for you look out for more details from around the country but take a look at the Regional Events Page to see the topics planned for each area. You can attend any regional meeting and we welcome non-members. We will bring in a small charge for non-members later as these regional events are a key membership benefit that allow networking opportunities for all.
Regional meetings are so important both for their educational content but also for knowledge sharing and support from other local professionals. Sometimes it can be hard to see outside our own departments to a wider picture and regional meetings are one of the places wider knowledge and networks are readily available to you.
I challenge any of you attending a BAA Meeting this year to go and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know personally and make one new connection in your network, I promise you will not regret that and every person in the room will have something to share with you at some level.
As we head into June the next big thing on my agenda is a cross sector patient pathway meeting on June 29th. I’ve mentioned this a little bit before but I see it as an opportunity to remove politics and funding from our thoughts as clinicians and consider how a person wanting help with their hearing can navigate our services and how we can ensure that they are seen by an appropriately qualified and skilled Hearing Healthcare Professional.
A big concern BAA have, and I have talked a lot about, is the availability of very specialised and experienced senior clinicians. The pathway of a patient can be very simple but there are complex tests and complex audiological needs across our services and as professionals we should be defining the type of training and experience we need within our workforce to meet those needs.
I have had great support for this very first meeting from within BAA but also from other organisations and I’m pleased that BSA, AIHIPP and Action on Hearing Loss will be sending representatives. I have a number of experienced NHS Heads of Service but I also have a mix of senior clinicians from a number of the High street providers such as Boots, Specsavers and Scrivens. So far the meeting has 25 attendees.
The meeting was deliberately scheduled for after the release of the NICE Guidance as this is an important document that gives discussions a fantastic evidence base. Mel Ferguson and Kevin Munro will be at the meeting and both were part of the Committee on this guidance so their input will be very valuable.
I’m hopeful that with the help of Professor Kevin Munro, who has kindly agreed to facilitate, the meeting can start to look at the journey of the patient and the professional. Consider the medical and audiological red flags at every stage of the patient journey. Then we can look at the professional journey through the workforce.
It's a huge undertaking and I hope by the end of the meeting we have great ideas on how we take this work forwards to produce a cross profession scope of practice and a patient pathway.
The meeting is a very first step and I’m sure the group will be looking widely at how this work progresses but let’s get started on something is the motto here.
President’s Blog 29th May 2018
Just two main things to focus on this week, but first a welcome to a new Board member. Education, Accreditation and Registration is a large portfolio for BAA and it is important to have two people working on this. It was decided to fill the vacancy with a temporary Board Director who joins board until the next AGM. I’d like to welcome Dr Tim Wilding to BAA Board and thank him for stepping into the vacancy to work on this portfolio.
One key objective of BAA is to lobby at all levels for development of our workforce and after completing a workforce survey in 2016 we have been using that data to feed into the One Voice campaign of the Academy of Healthcare Science to ensure that the audiology agenda is heard at the highest level. The aims of the One Voice initiative are described here: https://www.ahcs.ac.uk/one-voice/aims-objectives/ BAA are full members of the Professional Council of AHCS and the workforce issues audiology experience are not unique in the Healthcare Science arena, by pushing the agenda forwards as a group we can influence more and be stronger together.
If you are on the BAA Heads of Service list you will have received a letter by email from Wendy Farrington Chadd, the Consultant CEO at BAA. This letter asks you to share your views regarding the current workforce challenges and in particular where you are finding innovative and alternative solutions to these issues, to highlight case studies and share examples of innovation and best practice. It is hoped that this will also help to drive any action across service sectors. Please read the letter and respond as soon as possible so that we can build our evidence and share success in practice with others and with the One Voice Campaign.
BAA are a member organisation without your feedback on key areas such as this we have no evidence to lobby. The more evidence of positive things you have done the stronger our voice for new initiatives nationally.
Staying Ahead Policy Updates for Audiologists
I’m delighted to tell you that the full agenda is now available for this meeting on 18th September at Aston University. You can find that here – Agenda.
This day will provide information to senior members of audiology services and allow great networking opportunities.
There are still free tickets available to BAA Members and details of how to access those are available on the member’s section of this website here: https://www.baaudiology.org/membersarea/#.WwzL2Egvw2w
I am aware that some people have been struggling to log in to the website, we do seem to have had some issues with the automatic password reminders – if you have struggled please contact BAA@fitwise.co.uk and they can reset your password for you.
I look forward to seeing many of you there.
President’s Blog 14th May 2018
The first piece of BAA news I need to share is just a note to say that the Board Director Sri Chundu has stepped down due to work commitments. We have Lizanne Steenkamp working on our Training, Education and Accreditation portfolio with a team of volunteers and they will continue to look after that going forwards. Being a volunteer for BAA does require commitment and time and sometimes that is more difficult to find than we anticipate.
At the BAA Board meeting last week, we signed off the accounts and the budget for the forthcoming year and my thanks go to Barbara Gregg and Wendy Farrington-Chadd for the work they have completed in getting that ready.
It is Deaf Awareness Week this week and you will see a number of posts on our Social Media channels supporting this work. It’s an opportunity to reach a wider audience with the messages about how important looking after our ears is and the valuable work that we do in the Audiology Profession.
If you are holding your own events, please pop some photographs on the BAA Facebook Group or tag us on Twitter @BAAudiology so that we can retweet them for you.
I hope many of you have signed up to attend the Staying Ahead Event on September 18th – tickets are still available and I will publish a full agenda this week as all the speakers are now in place. The event promises to deliver many updates around policy and service for NHS Audiologists in particular.
This is a short blog this week but I would like to encourage you to visit the BAA website over the next few weeks as the Regional Meeting Calendar is added, news updated and meeting agendas published.
I hope you all got the email to tell you that BAA Conference 2018 is now officially open for bookings and I hope to see many of you there in November.
President's Blog 30th April 2018
Spreadsheets! Does anyone else find that word a little scary? Over the last two weeks I have been looking at the final budget for BAA over the next 12 months to set realistic targets and ensure that we can try to maximise the use of our funds for the benefit of members. I haven’t been doing this work alone and our Treasurer, Barbara Gregg as well as our CEO, Wendy Farrington-Chadd and of course our finance team at Fitwise are actually in charge of the spreadsheets, I just need to read them. Although we will take money from our reserves for the website redesign this year we would like to see the rest of our activity funded by our income not reserves. So how do we prioritise?
Our first port of call is each Board Director. We ask them what their teams plan to do this year and if that will impact the budget by increasing or decreasing it from last year. An example of this is our plan for regional groups. The Regional Representatives have had a meeting together to plan activity. They want to go back to our local groups targeted at local areas of interest and meeting regularly. They want a small budget increase to ensure they can cover speaker expenses and refreshments but they want to keep those meetings free for members to attend.
When we look at teams like Publications and Communications, or Education and Accreditation we need to cover travel expenses and often virtual meeting costs. Many of the BAA teams now use virtual meeting rooms rather than in person meetings to save time and money, but you need to travel sometimes.
Board itself has reduced costs by using free meeting rooms outside London to reduce room costs but also travel expenses – this has significantly decreased the costs of a Board Meeting.
We have also looked closely at the budget for conference and made a small increase in the Exhibition fees of just 3% to ensure we don’t have to increase the fees for Members to attend. We will be telling you more about this year’s conference over the next month so watch out for those announcements.
Over the last 3 or 4 years the motto of anyone spending money for BAA has become clear. Is it money we need to spend and is there a more cost effective way of doing the same activity? I hope as members you see that change and appreciate the effort we all undertake to spend efficiently whilst maintaining our presence in key areas like Education, Registration, Accreditation and Workforce Meetings.
So a blog really to tell you about some of that behind the scenes work. The Board meet on the 30th April so watch out for the new Board Meeting blog by the end of the week, to keep you up to date faster with decisions and discussions.
My other main activity over the next few weeks will be preparing for a meeting to consider the patient pathway as a group of cross sector audiology professionals and how we might incorporate the scope of practice into that conversation. It’s an initial meeting, timed to be after the NICE Guidance is released and will also be adult pathway focused. I am sending out the invitations to this meeting over the next few weeks to various colleagues across our sector and I hope we can get a great mix of clinicians together to think about the patient and not the funding. Have a look at the flyer here and if you think you might be interested in getting involved please let me know.
Don’t forget the meeting on 18th September, Staying Ahead; Policy Updates for Audiology Professionals. Tickets are still available on the EventBrite Website – details below in my last blog.
President’s Blog 15th April 2018
If you ever decide to take on the role of BAA President can I suggest you don’t take holidays for the duration of your term of office? I am of course only joking, I think, but I’m slowly ploughing through about 200 emails and getting back to normal after just a week off at Easter so that might be my piece of advice I leave in the Presidential Flak Jacket when I hand it over.
I think the mistake I made was to tell you to save the date for the Staying Ahead: Policy Updates for Audiology Professionals Meeting on 18th September the day I left for holiday. Since I returned I have been agreeing content and speakers for this meeting and now feel there is enough detail to suggest you might want to reserve your place – using the link https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/staying-ahead-policy-updates-for-audiology-professionals-tickets-44629017593?ref=estw
You will need a password to book as this meeting is one of the benefits of being a member of your professional body, in order to maximise this benefit to members I have placed the password you need to book on the Members Page of the BAA Website – Your username is your membership number and your password is set by you but the automated password reminder can come in handy I know.
Just go to www.baaudiology.org and click on Members and you will be asked to log in and taken to the member home page.
Whilst you are logged in to the Member section take a look at the CPD pages that offer you many templates and ideas for ways to record in your CPD Portfolio and suggestions on the type of things that can be considered as CPD.
Take a look under Teams and Service Quality and their you will find their document library, a useful resource from that team.
Last week I have met with Karen Shepherd (BAA VP) Ted Killan BSA Vice Chair and Barry Downes BSA Council Member. The meeting was really productive and we discussed the feedback from the Collaborative Day – although this was not the main purpose for the meeting. BAA will be launching a full programme of regional meetings shortly and we wanted to discuss how BSA might be able to interact in those meetings for our mutual benefit. We also wanted to discuss working collaboratively and playing to our own strengths as organisations. Many of our members are BSA members too and we want to ensure you get different things from the two organisations. As you know more and more people find it hard to commit time to help run these member organisations and the choice we have is to shrink our remits or collaborate more so that we do not duplicate work. In the early stages of discussions, we found some agreed ideas that we will now both take back to our Council and Board.
I will be meeting with the incoming and outgoing CEOs of the RCCP this week and that gives me a good opportunity to once again remind you to renew your registration online, you should have received details by email – the process takes seconds.
To be a full member of BAA you need to be registered with an appropriate voluntary or statutory register. BAA have supported RCCP for many years and we continue to ask our members to abide by their code of conduct, ethics and CPD as your registration body. We all hope that the government consultation on regulation of healthcare professionals leads to a more sensible registration approach for all professionals but I must emphasise that RCCP registration is across all our Home Nations, it covers Audiologists and Hearing Therapists, it shows a level of qualification which includes more than just adult hearing rehabilitation and continues to give strength in numbers for those seeking statutory registration under the Clinical Physiology Banner.
As we head into this week members of BAA Board are sending in their reports for our Board Meeting at the end of the month and we will be updated on all areas of work at those meetings. As BAA Members you will find Board Minutes in the BAA Members area too but these have to be passed at the next Board Meeting before publication so I will write a blog to update you on the Board Meeting and then pass that to another Board Member each time, we hope that will give you a faster insight into the progress of projects we undertake.
Best wishes to you all – please feel free to get in touch if you have anything to ask or clarify with BAA
President's Blog 3rd April 2018
Just a short blog this week as I, like many of you will be taking a break over Easter.
Regional Groups have planned their agendas for the year and will shortly be publicising those meetings. I want to encourage members to attend for the great content they provide, but also for the networking opportunities with your local audiologists. Regional meetings will continue to be free for members to attend and will offer content appropriate to your CPD needs.
You may have spotted a save the date in this week’s Horizon, we will be holding a meeting on 18th September for more senior members of BAA the tickets and the agenda will go live after the Easter break. This meeting will offer policy updates and also provide a networking opportunity for members.
I believe there is great value in peer support and mentoring and will over the next few months be looking for BAA members who might be interested in Mentoring other members – more on this over the summer.
I myself have had mentors over the years informally and have found great benefit in having support from people as I have developed in roles that were new to me or on a specific task. I think this sums up my experience of having a mentor, “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby
I hope many of our members will want to be mentors and we can develop each other through constructive support.
So short blog – enjoy any time off you may have over the next few weeks and I look forward to seeing some of you later in the year.
Meeting report 23rd March 2018
NHS England Event Hear the Future and prepare for it.
An unusual addition to the blog, but as the blog is intended to keep members informed I thought it might be the place to share some notes from the postponed World Hearing Day Event.
The meeting was opened by the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer Fiona Carragher, who gave an introduction to the day.
World Health Organisation prevalence of Hearing Loss will increase but focus must now be on prevention of hearing loss to stop that increase.
So what have we done in England?
We have evidence based support for commissioners in the Commissioning Framework.
We have the What Works Guides
Outcome based commissioning with monitoring tools for commissioning
Last year the U.K. signed a WHO Resolution that included a commitment to integrate a strategy in primary care settings for ear care and hearing care. Work by NHS England towards this includes the Commissioning Guidelines and a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Tool which will be published later this year to help commissioners in local services understand their population needs. - More of this in the report below.
The WHO Resolution also called for population based data from each country the JSNA moves this forward.
The WHO resolution calls for Access to cost effective products, we provide those through our NHS Services.
In the last 10 years hearing loss has moved from 10th place to 4th place in Global Burden of disease statistics – not a good achievement is it?
We need to think about Sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) that are bringing together local health and social care with commissioners local – next steps on hearing need to be mindful of these changes at every stage.
Focus on prevention in the next stages. Particularly care and recreational settings. How can we innovate in that area?
Hearing loss in the context of dementia needs to be considered.
Early diagnosis is important for prevention and again we need to innovate here.
Video Presentation from the Prevention Task and Finish Group
This group is looking to deliver initiatives to reduce noise related hearing loss.
To reduce the false information out in the public domain about noise induced hearing loss and noise protection so we have a greater awareness for key decision makers and the general public.
This Task and Finish Group wants to pilot a program similar to Dangerous Decibels program already active in schools in America here in the U.K..
This group is also looking at OAE testing as early indication of noise exposure, unfortunately the workshop they had planned for the 2nd March on this aspect of work could not be rescheduled to this day but will happen at some stage.
Lieutenant Colonel Linda Orr Hearing Loss Prevention in the Military - what can we learn
Initially starting with data collection that tells us that veterans under 75 are 3.5 times more likely to have hearing loss than in the general population
Defense is using a system to treat early, prevent and actually treat/ provide hearing solutions it is a collaborative approach and is called the HearWELL collaboration. As an ENT Surgeon Lt Col Orr is coordinating the strands of this work. HearWELL is about prevention, detection and treatment. Pulling the strands together to ensure that outcomes deliver change, in some ways brought about by budget cuts but ensures work is shared across the defense forces and not duplicated.
Interesting audience to reach as their concern is to keep their fighting force at their best so research has include the effect on even mild hearing loss on the accuracy of following orders. So operational concerns include Speech in noise issues and Communications and localisation issues.
They are piloting a telehealth experience that can be administered in the field with a robust testing kit and remote consultation which can provide immediate management advice without waiting for the individuals to return from active service, particularly useful after blast incidents. Currently piloting, tablet based, validated headphones, endoscope I-image video otoscope with speech in noise tests, PTA and tympanograms these are remotely sent to a specialised team who can send a recommendation and a management plan immediately. This system can be implemented rapidly after incidents.
Some of this work was used to put in an acute acoustic trauma plan after the Manchester bomb which was delivered by civil authorities, this work will be published in peer review later in the year.
Defense are also investing in basic science around drug management particularly in Tinnitus. Linda suggested that the key may well be regenerative medicine.
One thing I enjoyed was hearing that the project had been awarded funds from the fines that the government collected from corrupt banks called the LIBOR Fund. They will use this to set up a central point for service personnel and veterans to coordinate their hearing loss and prevention work.
Dr Piers Dawes The University of Manchester Hearing Loss and the Mind
Piers was trying to put into context for the audience the research on cognitive decline and hearing loss. He was able to tell us that Sensory function is a good biomarker of brain health. Biomarkers are important as they are the way we define aging effects, chronological age is not really good enough when looking at prevention and treatment interventions.
Piers is a lead researcher on a project called Sense Cog that is looking at sensory support interventions (glasses and hearing instruments as well as a weekly rehabilitation intervention) and if this has an effect on cognitive decline. He was able to share some early data collection that showed from the point of hearing instrument fitting there is a statistically significant reduction in decline. This is data analysis and not data collection work by Sense Cog and is illustrated below.
Piers finished by saying we should go for incremental change to get to better brain health and he gave us the changes we should be encouraging. Asked in question time how we separate hearing loss out from general health issues in brain health Piers felt strongly that we shouldn't that we should change the messages to include hearing as an aspect of general wellness.
Dr Emma Ferguson-Coleman from University of Manchester Deaf with dementia life stories
Emma gave a presentation in BSL about her work within the Deaf Community using the first language experience of BSL and how dementia is diagnosed, managed and understood if your language and culture are visually based.
Looking at the numbers Dr Ferguson-Coleman explained that there are 87,000 BSL users in the U.K. and so 450-800 will likely have dementia.
Initially the work also included a piece to understand what the Deaf community know about dementia and revealed a lack of BSL information on the topic. This leads to incredible delays in diagnosis which in term leads to provision of treatment and support delayed.
Many Deaf people and their carers with dementia expressed a sense of social isolation within hearing but also BSL community, as they aren’t supported there either due to lack of inclusion information. If the community has no information available in BSL about ways to make their community more dementia friendly how can they help people who are slowly losing their communication ability and sense of identity along with it?
The work has included Building Deaf with Dementia life stories to share narratives in their own words. (Gridley et al 2016). We were shown one of these videos it was very impactful.
The next stage is to continue development of culturally appropriate interventions that are visually based in local settings e.g. black and white silent movies. Many Dementia support activities that Deaf people are referred to are inappropriate culturally one example was a man referred to a singing with dementia group.
Roger Wicks AoHL on the JSNA for Hearing
Roger explained that the Early Diagnosis group of the Action Plan on Hearing Loss had produced a Joint Strategic Needs Assessment Tool for use by local commissioners to assist them in planning services across their regions for hearing loss and deafness. He described it as an excel spreadsheet but it is used to give detailed data to local service planners and offer a good practice commissioning tool. The guide will include the details below when released later in the year and will be a great help to local services.
Currently two thirds of the JSNAs produced do not have any mention or provision for hearing loss and deafness this JSNA guide will highlight inequality to access in different areas, contain local authority and CCG prevalence data, give estimates of population data, based on age in local population and the Adrian Davies data that already exists.
I hope this gives you a great insight into the content of the meeting yesterday, you will notice I have linked to documents throughout this piece so if you are unaware of them you should be able to find them easily.
Presidents blog 19th March 2018
As I write this I’m seeing the first signs of spring days and at BAA we are very busy on the next magazine that will include articles on the Annual Plan, Regional Groups and student members as well as our support for new professionals.
I’ve been thinking a lot about a piece of work we are undertaking on what BAA actually stands for, what is our purpose and what do we want to do to achieve that purpose for our members.
It’s made me question what we can do and how we can get members to believe in the work of BAA as a professional body. I’m rooted in the Health Service in England and I believe that access to hearing healthcare should be universally available, not just in the U.K. but around the world. Here in the U.K. we are incredible lucky to have National Health Services, and that in the main, they still provide audiology services free at the point of delivery for those that choose to access it. As a professional body lead I want more people to access audiology services, and I want the services they access to be provided by trained professionals who are passionate about giving good quality personalised services. I’m happy those that choose to can also access audiology provided by trained professionals who are passionate about giving good quality personalised services privately in the U.K.
As a professional body we will support all audiologists regardless of where they work in their education, CPD, and professional practice, because people who access audiology services deserve quality care.
However, I want to focus this blog on my colleagues in the Health Services.
I am concerned that we are facing an uncertain future within our Health Services in general and obviously with audiology services in particular.
When I talk to fellow professionals in the Health Services I am reminded of a quote from Nye Bevan (The man instrumental in the foundation of the NHS) who said, “Discontent arises from a knowledge of the possible, as contrasted with the actual”. That certainly rings true for me as an audiology professional and I would imagine you. In our Health Service provision, we are losing staff at both senior grades and in terms of recruiting. Our services like all those in the Health Services are being asked to do more for less money.
Our discontent arises from the knowledge of what is possible, it’s possible to change a life with a hearing instrument.
Our discontent arises from the knowledge of what is possible, It’s possible to treat a balance issue simply and effectively if you have appropriately trained and skilled staff.
Our discontent arises from the knowledge of what is possible, it’s possible to spend time with a person who has distressing tinnitus and counsel them to help with a personalised management plan.
Our discontent arises from the knowledge of what is possible, it’s possible to help a baby or child communicate and thrive using hearing instruments, BSL, Cochlear Implants and a combination of any and all of these things.
Our discontent arises from the knowledge of what is possible, it’s possible to reduce the impact of cognitive decline by ensuring access to the best sensory support we can provide.
The actual is being eroded, the ability to make the possible happen is being undermined by chronic under funding over many years of our Health Services and we as a professional body cannot hope to change that. We can’t change the government policy in England that has seen fragmentation of our audiology provision. We can’t hope to influence local service decisions but we can hope to influence you, the audiology professionals.
At BAA we will work at giving you the tools to think about how National Policy is being shaped. We will be a voice at a national level on as many topics as we can that relate to policy in service provision across the U.K. We will try to lead you by sharing information with you on Education, Registration, Clinical Guidelines, workforce strategy and funding, to name but a few areas.
At BAA we will provide professional support for your continued growth as individuals and teams.
We will work collaboratively with every organisation we can to shape and influence audiology in the U.K.
As the President of BAA I need you to help.
You need to access documents; I can point them out but you need to read them.
You need to get in front of the local decision makers with the national policies and guidance.
You need to understand your local services; you need to be critical of your own services, believe me other organisations are being critical.
You need to consider how you train new staff but also what you are doing to retain your staff.
You need to be a mentor, set the example and share your passion.
You need to say what makes audiology worthwhile. Trust me it’s not about the money for most audiologists.
“Discontent arises from a knowledge of the possible, as contrasted with the actual”.
You as audiology professionals are the actual making the possible happen.
President’s Blog 5th March 2018
I hope all our members are coping with the weather issues of last week and you are all safe.
World Hearing Day
I’m writing this blog on Friday 2nd March after having just listened to a World Health Organisation webinar on the Increasing Prevalence of Hearing Loss globally and how much of that is preventable.
The WHO estimate that by 2050 the number of adults over 65 will double globally and the number over 80 will triple. WHO also say that 60% of permanent hearing loss in children is preventable. You can read their report published for World Hearing Day here: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/260336/1/9789241550260-eng.pdf?ua=1
There are some great resources available on the WHO website to promote ways to tackle this increase in prevalence across the life span: http://www.who.int/deafness/world-hearing-day/whd-2018/en/
Unfortunately, the U.K. World Hearing Day event was cancelled today due to the weather and related transport issues, but some brave audiologists from the UCL Ear Institute braved the weather to raise awareness of hearing loss and offer noise protection advice in Kings Cross train station. You can see some of their photos on the BAA Facebook Group or Twitter feed.
Board Activities and updates
In the last two weeks I met with BAA Chief Executive Officer, Vice President, Immediate Past President, Treasurer and Board Lead for Conference, Virtually with the new Conference Program Team as well as with members of the Fitwise Team that provide support for BAA and some of our Conference Sponsors.
The first meeting was to set the budgets for the forthcoming year and to review ways to reduce costs. This will inevitably involve less paper, not only is this more environmentally friendly but it’s also more cost effective for BAA.
It’s important we have a current email address for as many members as possible and you can update this online. Go to www.baaudiology.org at the top of the screen you will see Log In – enter your membership number as your username and your password. Then you will see My Profile appear next to log in it’s here you can check your details and make sure we can connect with you.
If you have forgotten your password and don’t get the email link to reset, it then you probably haven’t updated your details with us. Just email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help you reset your password. You can also ring them in office hours on: 01625 290046
While you are doing that BAA Board and Fitwise will review all the paper we send out and see what we can do to make it electronic instead, so this year you will not receive a membership card on renewal but an email confirmation and a downloadable certificate for your CPD portfolio.
Our decision to invest in the website will be in the budget and Michelle Foster with the Publicity and Communications Team will lead this project with input from Board.
Other high priority areas will be regional networks and I just want to say thank you to all the BAA Regional Group Leads that are so enthusiastic and are working with Heather Dowber and Karen Shepherd this week to get dates and speakers in place for the year, so they can give you the plan going forwards.
Michelle Booth with the mentoring support of Ruth Thomsen, a BAA Past President will be running Action Learning Sets in a number of regions over the next 6 months and BAA will fund the start-up of these groups. More and more our Audiology Heads of Service need to act locally in response to national policy and these ALS will allow local HoS to network and get support in the challenging environments where they are based.
BAA Annual Plan
My meeting with the CEO, VP and IPP looked at finalising the annual plan for BAA Board this year. We want to be clear and concise in our overall objectives but we also want to add action plans on each objective that are measured and achieved. We will write a full article in the member’s magazine to detail the plan for you.
Myself and Claire Benton along with Phyllis Tait from Fitwise have been to look at two conference sites in the last two weeks. You all know that we will be in Liverpool in November 2018 and 2019. I can now tell you that we are looking at staying in the Northwest for 2020 and 2021 and have provisionally booked Manchester Central. Finding conference venues is always a challenge within our budget constraints and by taking 2 years at a venue we reduce the overall costs. Manchester has great transport links from all areas of the U.K. with a mainline station and an airport as well as good road links, (although it may be best not too think too hard about travel this week thanks to the Beast from the East).
The new conference programme team are busy contacting key note speakers and sharing ideas for other sessions. We like to have as much of the agenda in place at the launch of the conference as possible so that you as delegates can see how the agenda fits into your needs and put a good case together for attending each year.
Having a new team is exciting but I still want to say thank you to the Norwich Team that did a great job over the last couple of years, we can’t please all the people all the time but we really do work hard to try.
I'll sign off now as usual please feel free to contact me at anytime and keep safe and warm.
President’s Blog 19th February 2018
Towards a Connected Future – Collaborative Event with BSA/BSHAA and BAA
The event in Leeds was well attended by members of all 3 organisations and a full report of the event is on the website: https://www.baaudiology.org/indexphpnews/news-home/towards-connected-future/ I also collected the tweets from the day here: https://storify.com/BAAudiology/towards-a-connected-future
I want to thank Karen Shepherd on behalf of BAA who has worked with BSHAA and BSA representatives to make this event the success it was. Over the next few weeks we will be conducting delegate feedback, but also asking those members that did not attend for their opinions as well.
The event is unique and until feedback is assessed the future options for collaborative events will not be decided. Thank you to all our colleagues, who presented, exhibited and attended.
The new BAA Board had their first meeting of the year on 12th February. This has been deliberately moved to give the new members of Board chance to meet their teams and get a plan in place or get up to speed on their teams work before the Board meets.
The new board was so enthusiastic, the time we spent understanding the Board Roles in November and understanding the role of the professional body for its members was repaid in bucket loads as people came prepared and ready for the next steps to move their areas of work forwards.
It was a fantastic meeting with many behind the scenes documents around BAA policies and procedures being signed off and a list of tasks being agreed after discussion papers and updates were circulated.
We now have a policy on how we support research, so that this is a transparent process.
We have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding Between British Academy of Audiology (BAA) and British Association of Educational Audiologists (BAEA) this is intended to facilitate the accreditation of the course leading to eligibility to voluntarily register as an Educational Audiologist with the Registration Council of Clinical Physiologists (RCCP). This will now go to the RCCP for agreement.
BAA has been asked to join the NHS Elective Collaborative ENT Workstream as a stakeholder. The ENT workstream forms the third wave of this national programme which focuses on pathway reviews to support increased self care, improved referral pathways, and efficiencies. The Professional bodies are invited as stakeholders as there are potential workforce implications in terms of changing roles. Several pilots are underway within hospital providers. Although BAA can look at this nationally we urge members in the pilot areas to also make contact and get involved at a local level. Currently, Dudley, Doncaster, Somerset and West Suffolk are pilot areas. More information can be found here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/elective-care-transformation/
The enthusiasm of the new board members and our new way of working that gives time at Board meetings over to smaller working groups on our key issues has led to clear priorities for the groups.
Over the next 3 months we will meet again with the BAA teams virtually and in person and move the main themes of Board on.
We hope to have in place the plans for regional meetings around the country for the rest of the year.
The Service Quality Committee will continue their workload and in particular working with UKAS as part of the Accreditation Clinical Advisory Group in relation to IQIPs standards. The team have a number of BAA Magazine articles in the next few editions so watch out for those. Consultations on SQC documents for Direct referral for tinnitus and vestibular pathways are nearing completion, can I remind members that when these are out for consultation it’s important to read and respond to the documents if you have feedback.
The new Conference programme team has been agreed and they will start teleconferences this week to plan the 2018 Liverpool programme, David Maidment, Sarah Bent and Jack Bennett will give the team a balance between researcher/NHS/Private sector. Welcome to the team I hope you are ready with your ideas and ready to bring great speakers from around the U.K. and internationally to conference. Let’s start the hard work that those 2 days require.
One big piece of work that will sit squarely on Michelle Foster and the Publications and Communications team shoulders is investment in the website. The website has come up from each BAA Team as a key area for member communication but also a way to get more information to members. We want it to be a more interactive environment that motivates members to access it regularly for all their professional body needs. We want to simplify the site so that resources are easier to find. We will choose to invest in the website this year and Michelle and the team will start to plan how that will look.
Charlotte Rogers has expanded her role to take in New Professionals as well as Students and will be starting to look at ways BAA can support our recent graduates as they join and hopefully stay in our workforce. This will be an exciting piece of work for BAA and Charlotte will be releasing more details of this in the next few months.
Given that all the members of Board at the meeting were female I thought I might still a little Girl Power inspiration from the Spice Girls and say to you that it is now time for new Board to:
Swing it, shake it, move it, make it
Trust it, use it, prove it, groove it
Show me how good you are!
Thanks for the positive messages and thanks to Board for the great initial work, now let’s keep that momentum going.
Presidents Blog 5th February 2018
I’ll start this blog with a roundup of a couple of activities.
With Leah Cooper from the Higher Training Scheme (HTS) Team and Lizanne Steenkamp, (one of our Education, Accreditation and Registration Board Leads) I was involved in a conversation with The School of Healthcare Science in England. BAA have been looking at how HTS could be changed to relieve some of the burden on examiners, and also give trainees a great quality assured experience and service relevant training. This is a long way from settled and initially we will do a limited reopening of the HTS to new applicants as some of the most popular modules have audiologists waiting to register.
In parallel to this we are in initial discovery talks about developing an Accredited Scientific Practice (ASP) for Audiology. This is a longer term project and Leah will be leading a working group on how this might look and if it is feasible before we go to our full membership for consultation on this change. Initial conversations make me certain that students and institutions from all round the U.K. can register and take part in an ASP. For more information on ASPs take a look here: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/sites/default/files/documents/A-Framework-for-Accredited-Scientific-Practice-final-proofed-version-March-20153_0.pdf
The final meeting, I want to tell you about is The Healthcare Leaders’ Summit. This was run by the Chief Scientific Officer of NHS England. The speakers were from a variety of NHS organisations and arm’s length bodies. I have written a report for the forthcoming Board meeting and you will be able to read more detail in the minutes of that meeting.
What is a Professional Body?
Over the last few months BAA Board have been focussed on the question of what a professional body is. It’s a question we are asking as we look to our strategic plan but also one I had to ask myself last week before talking to Audiology Students at Manchester University.
I went back to our Vision which is: On behalf of its membership, BAA’s vision is to provide a clear and strong voice for professionals in audiology and to promote excellence in clinical knowledge and practice.
One message I wanted to get across to the students was that as a professional body we are independent of their job roles. What does that mean? It means that regardless of where you are working, you as a BAA Member should be able to look at the professional body for information on the wider world of audiology.
As such some of the things I think a professional body should do are:
- Maintain the practice of professionals in audiology to ensure the public who access the profession receive the best standards of care available.
- Consult readily in the development and monitoring of professional educational programs by taking part in accreditation visits to individual educational institutions.
- Continuing Professional Development is important and a professional body should encourage and support its qualified members in fulfilling the CPD requirements of their professional registration bodies.
- Have a proactive approach to challenges and changes affecting audiology services and audiologists in the U.K.
- Ensure quality outcomes for all those who choose to access audiology services in any setting in the U.K.
- Deliver quality advice on standards and clinical procedures to members and the wider profession of audiology
- Lobby for its member’s autonomy and professional skills to be recognised in all levels of healthcare management and government policy meetings.
I’d like members at all levels to remember that BAA Board are volunteers from the profession who seek to consult and communicate with members to set priorities and action plans for the Board, and carry out those plans to the best of their ability.
We need to keep members informed of what is happening in many contexts and sometimes that is hard to do, we can’t make a member read the information we provide. We can send out information in Horizons, the magazine, the website and social media but we need our members to look at how this affects them in their own roles.
We are increasingly faced with local policies on commissioning, education and workforce planning. The situation in each of the Home Countries is significantly different. We need to find ways to inform members but we need to be inclusive of all members and we need as a professional body to focus on the practice of professionals in audiology to ensure the public who access the profession receive the best standards of care available.
This year we want to find ways to engage our members that are more active and equip them to look wider than their job roles throughout their careers, to look at how national policies have local effects. With this in mind we are looking at a project to engage Audiology Leaders in Action Learning Sets rather than the traditional once a year Heads of Service Meetings. I’m going to leave Michelle Booth to explain the way these will work over the next few weeks, but I hope they will use the skills our audiology leaders have and the networks will develop more locally to achieve more for specific services than an annual meeting can.
I want BAA to provide networking opportunities for its members but we have to be realistic about the outcomes of meetings and taking a break from some of our events to approach them differently is not negative, it is responding to members feedback and reflecting on how we best accomplish our vision.
Presidents Blog 21st January 2018
The new year is well and truly here and 2018 is ramping up to be a busy one. Being President of BAA seems more real now, I seem to be juggling conversations and trying to link the correct conversations and parties in them to get that wider view of our representation of the profession.
One of the biggest issues facing our profession currently is workforce, I have mentioned before that this is a key strategic focus for BAA and work on this is being led by Michelle Booth and Wendy Farrington Chadd. I urge you all to look at the consultation on workforce that the NHS have released and look to respond to it from your Trusts/Employers. If you can’t respond from your organisation but have comments that Michelle might look to integrate in the BAA responses, please feel free to contact Michelle at the usual BAA Admin email address.
That consultation can be found here: http://consultation.hee.nhs.uk/
BAA Board have responded to the NICE Guidance and the government consultation on Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation this month.
As BAA President this week I will be attending the Chief Scientific Officer’s Healthcare Science Leadership Summit on Tuesday. With recruitment and retention of staff, as well as training being one of the issues that is on the lips of every head of department, university staff member and qualified Audiologist I speak to I see this meeting as an important networking opportunity to raise the profile of our profession. We are a small part of the Healthcare Science agenda and it’s important that I continue the great work of the Past Presidents of BAA ensuring that Audiology gets access to the agenda, sets out our needs and continues to ensure we are thought of in all those meetings and events that the CSO Office runs.
Last week Kath Lewis, our Board Director for Service Quality met with her team of hard working volunteers to plan their work for the next 12 months, more updates from this team will be shared at the Board Meeting next month.
Another BAA meeting this week is a small working group from BAA Board who will meet with our conference organisers from Fitwise to look at how we can respond to immediate feedback from Conference 2017, but more importantly to plan how we sustain an in person conference each year for our membership in challenging times. Both BSA and BSHAA have chosen not to run an annual conference in 2018, although both organisations will be offering online content, and possibly smaller events through the year.
BAA run the biggest professional conference for those working across all sectors in hearing and balance in the U.K. many delegates comment on the benefit of meeting other colleagues and networking at the event, as well as attending the formal education programme. We need to present clinically relevant speakers but every Audiologist has a different clinical experience level. We are never going to please every delegate all the time, we remind ourselves of this when we read the feedback.
Next week I will be attending a careers event at Manchester University on behalf of BAA. These days allow us to promote our revised Student Membership, which is free and open to a much wider group of students than previously. You can read the terms and conditions of that membership and join here: https://www.baaudiology.org/signup/#.WmS0QOanyf0
So as you can see we are certainly hitting the ground running this year.
I hope to see some of you at our first collaborative event with BSHAA and BSA in Leeds on 7th February – places are still available at the website for the event. https://fitwise.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/baabsabshaa-collaborative-event/homepage
Presidents Blog 8th January 2018.
Happy New Year to you all. We often see new year as a chance for new beginnings but we should also use it to reflect and I will try to do both in this blog.
I’m going to start with the sad news that Professor Ross Coles passed away at the age of 89 on December 16th. Professor Coles inspired many in the Audiology profession and BSA have published an obituary that sums up his great life and work here: http://www.thebsa.org.uk/obituary-memory-robert-ross-adlard-coles/
Our generation of Audiologists owes much to Ross, his hard work and inspiration as well as encouragement of others has shaped many careers of those leading Audiology professionals of my generation. I send my deepest sympathies to his friends and family. You can read some more of people’s thoughts and experiences of Ross and his work on the BAA Facebook group.
Activities of the BAA Board at the start of the year are:
Responding to the NICE Guidance on Adult Hearing Loss, this needs to be submitted by Friday 12th January and has been a significant piece of work due to its in-depth and extensive remit. The document is a significant one as it is the most evidence based piece of work on best practice in the UK. BAA are generally pleased with the document and the depth of the document but have raised a number of concerns for consideration in areas such as the omission of any guidance on referring for Cochlear Implant Assessment, the change in practice for unilateral losses being referred for MRI and a number of other details. It does not detract from the overall body of work being much needed and well prepared.
As discussed in my last blog we will also respond to the governments paper on regulation this month. This is also a significant consultation but at this stage much less detailed than the NICE consultation. You are able to respond to this document as individual registrants and healthcare professionals.
Our Education, Accreditation and Registration Lead Lizanne Steenkamp has put together a great paper on Registration Options in Audiology and how to navigate the choices the document can be accessed online here: https://www.baaudiology.org/index.php/download_file/2088/
This week the Publicity and Communications team for BAA will hold its first meeting this year and discuss among other things the BAA Website and Social Media – two ways we communicate with members.
The next BAA Event is the Collaborative Event with BSA and BSHAA on 7th Feb in Leeds, details of the event can be found at: Towards a Connected Future
New Resolutions and new beginnings
This is my blog and I’d like to talk about Continuing Professional Development (CPD), as I am passionate about this often misunderstood area.
I’m sure at least some of you will have your annual appraisals at the start of the year or be planning budgets and trying to get financial support in place for CPD either for yourself or staff.Those of you in business may find a quiet time to reflect and plan strategies at the start of the New Year too.
During last year Karen Shepherd and the BAA CPD team implemented a significant change to the BAA commitment to CPD which ultimately led BAA away from providing a database to store CPD entries. At the same time the team worked hard to provide many templates for CPD recording to members, trying to emphasise the learning opportunities we all come across in our everyday work environments and giving members more practical examples on recording and learning from their environments. I have for many years been an advocate of the mantra ‘CPD is not about attending courses’. So this approach from BAA is one I fully support. Just log into the CPD Menu of the website to see the templates and ideas prepared by the team to help you maintain your CPD records. https://www.baaudiology.org/cpd/
Each and every member of BAA is responsible for their own Personal Development, for meeting their registration standards and for ensuring their practice is up to date. All 3 registration bodies, RCCP, HCP and AHCS have exactly the same CPD standards.
To me the interesting conversations I have about Continuing Professional Development are with members who seem to think CPD is a chore that has to be completed in order to maintain their registration if they were unlucky enough to be audited by the registration councils. Or that CPD is only done at courses and events funded by their employers. Or that there is not enough time for CPD. I have had 3 of these conversations in the past few weeks, hence my focus here.
I have a very different opinion on what CPD is and why we as professionals should seek out CPD activities and use all opportunities to learn for the benefit of our clinical work and our patients.
CPD in itself is not something that should be arduous or lengthy, it should occur both spontaneously and in a planned way. CPD is not about attending events, although we always like to talk with you at professional events. CPD is about developing your knowledge in a number of ways to fill a knowledge gap you might have identified and recording this learning.
So let me challenge you to think about and write your CPD plan for the next 12 months now and think differently.
Developing a plan
1) Identify your knowledge gaps. A little bit of reflection helps here. Reflection is simply looking back on an event, piece of work or a professional interaction for example and thinking about what happened, trying to decide why those things happened and thinking about anything you can do to build on that same situation next time.
Some events you might reflect on are:
- Have you had a difficult hearing aid fitting/diagnostic appointment/rehabilitation challenge/vestibular assessment recently?
- Do you feel there was a patient you could have done more for?
- Consider using a reflective journal pro forma to help you identify any areas in your clinical practice that might offer a learning opportunity. One that I use is the IDA Institute journal here: Originally developed by Dr Chris De Placido you need a free account to access the tools but there are many great learning opportunities here: https://idainstitute.com/toolbox/self_development/get_started/reflective_journal/
- Is there a new feature a hearing aid manufacturer has introduced that you want to know more about?
- Have you seen a tweet about a research project that intrigues you?
- Was there an interesting speaker at the last event you attended that prompted you to find out more about their subject matter?
- Did you read an article in a trade journal or magazine that interests you?
2) Write down your knowledge gaps.
Record what you think you want to know more about.
3) Prioritise your list
4) Look for resources to fill your knowledge gaps
So you could just look for events to attend that fill the knowledge gap, and I will discuss events later in the blog. Let’s just spend a minute looking for other resources to fill the gaps.
ENT News, BSA Audacity and AudioInfos summarise research journal articles, sometimes a quick Google search will take you to scholarly articles on a subject. You can often read the abstract for free and then make single article purchases on line. Did you know you can also order journal articles at a small cost from The British Library Document Service? http://www.bldss.bl.uk/BLDSS/ for details.
Often your hearing aid manufacturers and equipment manufacturers will have more in depth information on the research behind features in the form of technical or white papers ask your representatives for these or go online to look.
Remember to record your reflections on what you read in the journal.
There are free to access online journals and trade magazines, CPD does not have to be expensive. One such journal is The Hearing Journal available here: http://journals.lww.com/thehearingjournal/pages/default.aspx?utm_source=The+Ear+Hears&utm_campaign=c093e4850e-The_Ear_Hears_July&utm_medium=email
Start with Audiology On Line. You can read articles, listen to recorded courses and attend live online courses. Access to Audiology On Line is free just create an account at www.audiologyonline.com so that you get email reminders for courses you sign up to.
Remember at the end of a course or reading an article write down your evaluation of the event remembering to include what the content was and how effective it was at filling the knowledge gap you have. Always consider how you will use the learning to improve your service to your patients.
Many leading audiology researchers also direct you to articles or post about conferences they are attending with content slides on Twitter to start try going to ww.twitter.com create an account and search #BAAConf
How often do you look at a conference or an event agenda before you book to attend to see what knowledge gaps are filled by items on that agenda?
Have you considered attending just one day of a conference as that is the relevant day to your knowledge gap on the agenda?
Have you asked one of your hearing aid or equipment suppliers if they can provide an agenda that would fill a gap in your knowledge?
When you have been at an event have you ever added a comment to the feedback form suggesting topics for further training you would like?
Informal Learning Opportunities
Attendance at events gives you the opportunity to broaden your social connections within Audiology. Why not use those connections to provide a learning opportunity?
If a friend uses a different brand of hearing instruments ask them what benefits they feel those aids have for their customers.
If a friend is using, speech mapping or speech in noise testing regularly why not ask if they would be willing to let you visit their clinic and observe how that fits into their consultation?
Observation of a colleague often allows you to modify your consultations and change your ideas on routine work.
Remember to reflect in your CPD journal on these visits too.
5. Discuss your learning needs and achievements.
If you are employed talk to your colleagues and your managers about your CPD plan, discuss any opportunities that can be made available for work shadowing to help you fill the gaps. Find out if anybody in the department has read any articles that might help fill your gaps in knowledge. Ask if you can be involved in planning departmental training events and seek out speakers that might fill in some gaps. Look wider in your Trust than audiology for speakers on professional development, presentation skills, report writing, Dementia Friendly services etc.
If you are self-employed network, go online look for forums that offer advice and support to professionals, read them, contribute follow the links.
6. Recording CPD
So I hope I have given you a different view of how easy it is to undertake CPD, often the hardest part is recording the CPD for your records.
Why not try recording it on the go?
As long as you have a folder, note book or an app to record on the go you can always transfer records later. Your initial notes do not have to be lengthy.
Try using a desk diary to record the date of the CPD but also your quick reflections on it as you go along with the event or activity.
Do you keep course attendance certificates? Why not write a quick reflection of the value of the course to you and your patients on the back of the certificate before filing the certificate?
Try an app if you are always on your tablet computer. Just look in your online Store for CPD to see the different possibilities.
I believe all the professionals I meet do a lot of CPD activities, if I can encourage you to think about CPD differently and give you easy ways to be more focused or spend less on courses and conferences but learn to choose the events well to meet your knowledge gaps I hope you will improve your attitude to the process of CPD.
1. Identify the knowledge gap
2. Write down the gaps
3. Priorities your list
4. Find the resources to help you fill your knowledge gaps, (think outside that events only box)
5. Reflect on the activity
6. Record the activity
I hope you take up my personal challenge and think about CPD differently but also learn to enjoy the learning and the journey.
11th December 2017
This is the final blog for 2017 and I want to highlight one important document consultation to ensure you are aware of it and what BAA are doing in response to it.
Currently the 4 Governments that make up the UK are consulting on reforming Health Care Regulation. As BAA President I met with BSHAA and NCHA representatives this week to discuss our responses to the consultation. Although we will not make the same response it’s interesting to see how much more aligned we are on the future of regulation than we have ever been. HCPC is the second biggest register of healthcare professionals in the U.K. but the audiology voice is small compared to other professionals so a general alignment of the issues across the sector will hopefully make our voices stronger.
RCCP will be responding to the consultation as well as this affects those that are statutory or voluntary registered, and indeed those not registered at all.
This is potentially an opportunity to get all professionals working in Hearing Healthcare on a statutory register and as such an important document to read and respond to. You are able as a Healthcare Professional to make your own individual response.
Think how much simpler would it be for a member of the public to see who they need to contact to check their healthcare professional is registered if there was just one place to look. The regulation consultation has a number of aims but one of those is that simplification and alignment of registers.
This would not change the fact that there are many roles that are carried out by our profession and our own Scope of Practice and professional behaviours would still define our ability to be suitable for a particular role. There is always a chance that this consultation will lead to less regulation of Healthcare Professionals and more voluntary registration so it is important that we respond and make it clear that our preferred outcome would be statutory regulation for all.
The response date to this consultation is 23rd January and you can read and respond from this website link: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/promoting-professionalism-reforming-regulation
I’d like to tell you as well about a completely different letter BAA received in the last few weeks. We have received a letter from Jos Millar, some of you may remember BAA have an award named after him. Jos is in his 80s now but as an Honorary member of BAA still receives our magazine and his award goes to the best magazine article of the year, so very fitting. He wrote to say how much he enjoyed the magazine and wanted to pass on his congratulations to the award winners past and present. It was great to get a letter that was just so positive and showed that the passion audiologists have is not confined to their working lives. I think it leads me to the phrase, once an audiologist always an audiologist. I’ve enjoyed writing back to him and the fact that I had to use a letter not an email communication was part of that.
We spend a lot of time, effort and thought about how we communicate effectively with members of BAA and sometimes I wish that in our world of instant updates, websites and Social Media we could take a step back and wait for the snail mail that always makes me smile when I receive a card, magazine or a note on paper. The time it takes to write those things might make us all communicate with more thought and less reactively than we sometimes do with instant communications.
So as I sign off for a long festive break, (one of the benefits to not having a clinical role currently), I look forward to a New Year with new challenges for our profession.
My favourite Christmas song and the one I will line up to play immediately I leave my office on 16th December is the classic – Driving Home for Christmas, I spend a lot of time in my job driving around the U.K. or sat in tailbacks I’ll share a link with you https://youtu.be/DDt3u2Ev1cI
The Lyrics I’m enjoying and the bit I sing loudest are:
Driving in my car, I'm driving home for Christmas Driving home for Christmas, With a thousand memories.
Every year brings memories and this year with two trips to Armenia taking part in a Starkey Hearing Foundation Mission bringing hearing aids to 1600 people and taking over as BAA President there are certainly a thousand memories.
Have a safe and happy festive season. More updates in the New Year.
As always please feel free to contact me or any of BAA Board using email@example.com
27th November 2017
This has become a popular way to keep BAA Members up to date with the activities of the BAA President and this year I hope to expand it to include the activities of the wider BAA Board.
The first task of an incoming BAA President is to thank the previous President during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) at BAA Conference. I once again want to thank Michelle Booth for her work over the last year. She leaves BAA in a much better place than it was and will be an active Immediate Past President.
That brings me to the changes to BAA structure that were voted for at the AGM. We have changed the Constitution to Articles of Association. The biggest change is that the Presidential Term is now 2 years, this also extends the Vice President and Immediate Past President roles to 2 years also. This has been made possible by our appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BAA who has over the past year put in place with Michelle many new governance procedures within BAA. The changes to Board Directors Job Descriptions and the increasing role of Past President and Vice President allow the President to cope with a 2 year term whilst still maintaining their own 'day job'.
The first meeting of the new BAA Board welcomed 5 of the 6 new Board members to the existing team and the details of the roles they will do are below. Our first day together developed the Board and communication strategies that will help us be efficient and communicate well with each other between board meetings.
Over the next few weeks each Director will introduce themselves on the Board Roles page and also introduce themselves to their teams.
Today we have received the Draft NICE Guidance for Hearing Loss in adults: Assessment and Management. The full guidance is expected to be published in May 2018 and BAA have been a stakeholder in the document. You can read the document here: NICE Guidance BAA Board will be working on a response to the draft.
As this is my first blog I wanted to share the closing remarks I made at BAA Conference as I accepted the role of President. If you haven't read them they are here: Closing Words
As ever if you want to contact me please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org