Sue Falkingham BAA President 2017-2019
Final president's Blog 4th November 2019
Well this is my last blog as President of BAA.
My temptation to say, “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) is tempered by a year still on BAA Board as Immediate Past President.
Things move very slowly in organisations like BAA because we rely on volunteers to do most of the change we want to implement.
Our management company Fitwise support all our day to day functionality but when there is a new idea, work stream or project we want to implement that comes from a Board Member leading the projects alongside their full-time day jobs. It means that some of the things that we agreed to start when I took over as President in 2017 are just coming to fruition.
I’d like to look at some of those in detail here as well as in our Annual Report.
This will launch at conference.
BAA mentoring brings together experienced Audiologists, service leads, early professionals and other partners to mentor our community. BAA mentoring aims to improve confidence and self-belief, coach our early professionals and offer guidance and support for career development across all our members. At the heart of the scheme is a focus on you – to do well in practice, your career and working towards achieving your goals more broadly.
We will preview this at conference, but it is a few weeks from launch.
The website redesign is much more interactive with video content and resources that will promote Audiology as a career as well as bring great content for our membership. Behind the website we hold the membership database, and this has caused several complications and delays. It’s important that your data is safe and secure and only used by BAA as specified by you. For the website to work we need you to be able to log in individually and this is causing a hold up. Content is ready and we will go live as soon as we can.
Higher Training Scheme
We will reopen applications to the HTS at Conference.
We have arranged a meeting of examiners for the day before conference and we will be revamping some modules and hopefully adding new ones to the scheme in the next 6 -12 months.
HTS must be a route for accreditation by the Academy of Clinical Scientists and any changes we put in place must be agreed with them, following the fantastic work of a very small committed team over the last 2 years we are in the final stages of agreeing approval.
As you know there are several organisations who represent audiologists in the U.K. and having a better dialogue with them all has been part of my aim for the last two years. It is safe to say we are not changing anything quickly in this area and there are distinct voices and will continue to be from all the organisations. I’m pleased that our guidance documents now routinely receive feedback and comment from BSA and BSHAA representatives and although in a few circumstances this has slowed the publication down it has led to better documentation being produced. A professional body should not be representative of you only if you work for one employer, you should be able to carry our guidance and support with you throughout your career. In times when everything becomes more insular due to external pressures let’s continue at BAA to increase our inclusion.
Service Quality Team
This team of volunteers are amazing, and I want to extend my personal thanks to them. They have consistently produced well researched and evidenced guidance to a high standard on topic areas that matter to members.
They consult on National Guidance and I have put my trust in them to respond on behalf of BAA many times.
They also provide members to the IQIPs Accreditation Clinical Advisory Group (ACAG).
The documents they have most recently produced are Guidance on Referral for MRI by Audiologists and Setting Up a Direct Referral Balance Service (Audiology). Both these documents deliver clinically relevant guidance to services in response to member requests for more information.
It has been a long time since BAA had a regional representative in every area of the country and these networks are hard to build and maintain. I’m pleased to say we now have someone in every area, and I welcome 3 new volunteers this week who will take the empty locations you will have seen in the magazine and start organising in those areas.
We hope to use regional meetings as a way of identifying great local speakers and topic ideas that we can bring to our national conference. If you want to speak at a regional meeting, please contact your local representative to discuss the opportunities available.
Education Accreditation and Registration
This team is a quiet one doing tremendous amounts of work. We are regularly represented by them at policy meetings education consultations and accreditation visits. They are currently working on a draft for consultation of the Standards of proficiency for a BSc Level audiologist and are just about to start work on the same document for a Hearing Therapist.
The team members speak to students, potential students new graduates, supervisors and employers all the time and provide many valuable insights to BAA work.
I’ve set up a partnership with the IDA Institute to work towards our organisation and members being recognised and improving their person-centred care approach to rehabilitation. We don’t deliver hearing aids we change lives every day. Remember that next time you interact in your clinics and we will not go far wrong.
Diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation advice all come from a person-centred approach and over the next 12 months we will work with IDA to bring those values out into the open for all our members and shout about the way audiologists help find solutions with the people we serve in hearing and balance diagnostics and rehabilitation.
We will also launch a tinnitus training module for all audiologists with the new website. This has been a long time coming but will provide a peer reviewed way of improving your skills as a first contact point for may people whose main complaint is tinnitus. I’m grateful for members of the Scottish Tinnitus Advisory Group (STAG) for sticking with me on this one and agreeing to be peer reviewers, it is on it’s way. The British Tinnitus Association and Beth-Anne Culhane have recorded the online training modules with BAA and I really need to thank them too for the work and effort they have put in.
As I said at the start, I will continue to serve on BAA Board as Immediate Past President for one year. In that year I hope to help the Regional Group leads with their meetings. I plan to be a peer assessor for the tinnitus module and lead the first year of that. I will be involved at some level with the Standard of Proficiency for a Hearing Therapist too. I hope to continue to provide support to our conference programme team and I will continue to champion our IDA partnership. So, I’m not planning to walk away quietly, please don’t tell my boss or my family that bit.
I care, about my profession, about my professional body and about the future of NHS audiology services. I can’t fix the state the NHS is in, particularly in England, it’s not just audiology, we must stand up for all our NHS Services.
I work across the whole hearing sector, but my heart and soul believe and always has that NHS Audiology services deliver fantastic care free at the point of delivery.
There are battles to fight in this country and you must show up and take part.
I’m proud of the BAA Board I have worked with over the last 24 months.
As President I have worked hard, I’ve made tough choices, I’ve given every piece of energy I have and trust me the day job has not been easy to make that easier.
50% of BAA board work in traditional NHS settings, 3 work in education and 3 work in commercial organisations. We represent a wide variety of skills and experience, but we will always need you.
Several Board members will retire next year it’s time for you to fill our shoes.
To do better than us if you think we haven’t done enough.
To change the world, or at least the world of audiology in the U.K.
Parting words from me?
Thanks for all your help advice, criticism, complaints and support.
As I pass on the Presidency and leadership of BAA I want to say to every member it is time to show up and take part.
President's Blog 21st October 2019
How exciting only 23 days away from conference.
We have worked hard to bring you the best value conference in the U.K. without increasing our member’s delegate fees. I’ve started to look at the agenda and look at who I want to hear.
I’m looking forward to handing over the President’s hat – it’s a paper hat don’t worry about the expense and enjoying the Thursday afternoon and Friday of conference.
Our keynotes this year are world leaders and have a variety of topics spanning the breadth of Audiology. I’m very much looking forward to hearing John Day talk about the services they are delivering in the Welsh NHS, how they are patient focused and innovative. I’m interested in how he has maintained services but also how Welsh audiology is leading the way in so many areas of delivery.
Professor Larry E. Humes will bring an insight on the issues we might face in evaluating and treating age related hearing loss. He has many years of experience in the USA and a fantastic understanding of the changing marketplace and consumers.
e-Health is such a hot topic in Audiology and I am concerned we are hurtling towards remote appointments without taking a moment to consider the best ways in which to conduct those with our unique population. Professor De Wet Swanepoel, is recognised as an innovator in this topic and securing him as a Key Note at this stage in the development of e-Health in audiology is good timing.
Dr Sally Rosengren is joining us from New Zealand, her approach to balance rehabilitation has been cutting edge and a balance keynote speaker of her standing globally is something only BAA conference will deliver for you in person in the U.K.
Our final conference speaker is aimed at motivating you on your way back to clinic on Monday morning and what better way to finish a conference than with an Osmond? Justin has a severe hearing loss but grew up in one of the most highly regarded musical families of the 1970s. He states that, “Every time I present on stage, my focus is to deliver:- A message that people can use, motivation and humour without over the top hype inspiration with humility, Long term effect. I can’t wait.
So where do I want to be apart from the Keynote talks?
Here are a couple that interest me as an adult rehabilitation specialist and hearing aid provider.
-Towards evidence -based management of highly asymmetric hearing loss and single-sided deafness Padraig Kitterick – as a regular fitter of CROS and BiCROS devices this one interests me.
- Optimising Amplification for Adults who have Atypical Hearing Loss Configurations Dr Siobhan Brennan, Clinical Nobody sees enough
I’m also excited to be on the BAA stand this year as we have some great new membership benefits to discuss with you. From the launch of Mentoring to the relaunch of the Higher Training Scheme to the first look at the new website, be sure to stop by and ask a Board member about those.
We will have a whole new set of BAA leaflets with a refreshed BAA look, and we will be promoting our member get member offer where you can receive a £15 Amazon voucher by recommending a colleague joins BAA.
The BAA Pod in the exhibition hall will give you a chance to hear about the HTS, Regional Groups, Service Quality and Publications and Communications activities, in between talks you can listen to relaxation sounds in the pod, so if you need a little alone time take a seat there.
There is an opportunity to submit questions to the AGM but this year there is also an opportunity to ask Board questions at a more informal Q&A in our pod in the exhibition hall.
You will be able to access the annual report on the website soon but let me tell you a few highlights:
- Start a BAA Mentoring Scheme (launching at Conference).
- Develop content for a better more informative and fit for the future website.
- Revamp the Higher Training Scheme – (launching again at conference).
- Build an almost all new network of regional representatives who are now starting to book local BAA meetings
- Train Person Centred Care Champions across our organisation to deliver PCC Training at regional meetings.
- Develop a standard of proficiency for a BSC qualified Audiologist
- Produce practice guidance in balance, MRI referral, reasonable adjustments to name a few.
- Consult on HE training routes
- Respond to a consultation on registration
- Carry out accreditation visits on behalf of the RCCP
- Respond to NICE Guidance
- Hold a Policy Day for senior NHS Audiology Leaders in England
- Develop a Tinnitus Training module with BTA
So I hope to see some of you at conference. I’m looking forward to enjoying the great speaker line up and learning something new.
This year I promise to remind you about Slido and the microphones so that you can ask questions, get the awards in the right order and remember my notes so I introduce my guest speakers from their correct cities. – Wish me luck.
President's Blog 23rd September 2019
I was at the British Tinnitus Association Conference and Expo last week, it’s a great event for professionals wanting up to date knowledge, practice advice and the opportunity to network with colleagues to gain insights you don’t get working on your own with challenging clinic days.
One thing that struck me that I want to write about here is the small world of audiology and the even smaller group of people volunteering to speak, share their work, present research posters and attend events such as these.
There were 4 members of BAA board at the event, each of us presenting something over the two days. We were funded mainly by BTA, and in my case my employer, so don’t worry we spent BAA cash on 4 people being there it’s not my point. I’m struck by how the experts in the field, (it’s ok I’m not including myself), are getting older, how younger Audiologists with an interest in getting involved were not in evidence.
The BTA does an amazing job with dedicated staff working alongside a panel of Professional Advisors to provide advice and support to people who are happily seeing Audiologists and want further support, or those that haven’t sought any professional advice. We have to start thinking how we encourage our Early Career Audiologists to take an interest in these external events, to be available to their local support groups, to make themselves known to BTA locally and nationally, so that as we retire, we are replaced.
I had 3 conversations with people I would say are prominent in this world, and have been, go to ‘Tinnitus People’ for a while who all have retirement plans in place for the next 2-5 years.
Is there an easy way to encourage participation when budgets are tight?
Some of the other issues I see are:
Time out to attend events is severely squeezed.
Cyber security is tight so some hospital staff can’t access online training.
Work life balance is more prominent and engaging outside work hours for early professionals is something many do not want to do.
Building confidence in early professionals to turn up at an event like this alone and engage is difficult.
What can you do?
So, what can we do if you share my concerns? Here are some of my suggestions.
Engage locally: go to your local Tinnitus Support group and make yourself known as a local professional, take an EP with you to introduce them to a wider public group.
Run a journal club, get people in the department to engage in articles, discussions and pick people who don’t normally engage in public speaking to present at the club.
Support a staff member to submit research posters to conferences.
Share your departmental research and audits.
Get an in hospital/clinic setting Tinnitus Awareness Week stand for the public sorted out. Take your EPs to help you run that and give them a briefing beforehand.
What are you likely to get asked at public events?
What is Tinnitus and why do I have a problem with it but my friend doesn’t?
You really should have an answer to this. Every Audiologist should be able to answer this, briefly, well and in lots of different ways.
Please take a look at Taming Tinnitus by the BTA if you want to refresh your answer: https://www.tinnitus.org.uk/taming-tinnitus
BAA have worked with BTA to produce an online training module which will also be released soon.
Is there a cure?
Watch this video for great ways to answer that. https://youtu.be/eEHCLLkxdps
Or Read the recent paper on that statement here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2019.00802/full
Why do hearing aids help?
I’ve got Tinnitus my hearing is ok.
Hearing aids are ugly.
You would be surprised how many members of the public are still expecting beige bananas on old people as the image of our technology, particularly in the NHS, take a display be willing to talk about the technology.
What can I do about my tinnitus?
Have the BTA website available. Download a Tinnitus noise generator app to demonstrate on a smartphone, there are thousands of free ones.
My advice to you
I think we need a grass roots set of actions. Older clinicians can encourage within our clinical settings to start identifying the next generation of professionals who will take over, get out of their comfort zones and volunteer, but also make themselves known as supporters.
Thanks for reading the ramblings of a jaded supporter who gets energised when 300 members of the public engage on a Saturday and ask questions to help themselves. I believe we should be there to answer them.
President's Blog 26th August 2019
Well as I write this it’s the start of the bank holiday weekend. The weather forecast is good and I hope you all get the opportunity to enjoy some time relaxing before the autumn starts.
Our organisation starts the run up to Board elections at the end of the summer and you should have received details of how you can stand to join BAA Board on email and in the Horizons newsletter.
I’ve been on Board a long time now and I would encourage anyone that is interested in their profession moving forwards and increasing our voice and representation to join Board.
The board only meets 4 times a year, so it’s the work you undertake between board meetings that makes the difference. Each Board Director has a responsibility for an area of work. If it’s a team like the Service Quality Committee or Regional Groups for example, you will meet with the team, often online, and discuss what they are working on, any priorities from Board that may affect that team, and also communicate any requests for Board approval to a Board meeting.
You might need to develop a team for example publications and communications are developing after new members joined and their board lead changed. In general the overall responsibility for the work a team does moving forwards, being published, producing reports and information for members lies with the Board Director for that area, so you have a responsibility to your team to engage with them and with the Board to move the work forwards for the benefit of BAA members.
One of the benefits of having an active and engaged BAA Board is that when questions or queries come into BAA I, as President can draw upon the Board Member’s specialist knowledge on matters like Education, HCS Policy or things like Paediatric Audiology where I’m not an expert. Having a variety of people with different experiences in Audiology is vital to Board.
The President role does mean that the responsibility for a final decision is mine but I try to engage the right Board members and on some topics all board members to think those decisions through and decide BAA positions as appropriate.
This is one of those times where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Nobody should stand for BAA Board lightly, to actively engage and ensure that BAA can represent our membership well, means you need to have a commitment to the role.
You need to be ready to learn new things, to engage with new people and scenarios and to actively raise your own opinions but also those of your teams and wider BAA membership.
If you think I have done a good job as a President that’s lovely of you but trust me there are times that the support of the other Board members has been vital to get things done, but also to cover areas of work as a team. The President is just the conductor, the orchestra that delivers is The Board.
If you think I’ve done a bad job as President I would also suggest you stand for Board. As we say about politics, if you don’t like it change it. You have the ability to represent your profession in the same way that I chose to and you can influence the way BAA represents you by getting involved.
I know it’s not easy getting time away from your jobs to represent the profession, and I understand this is often a reason people don’t put themselves forward but why don’t you ask your manager? You might be surprised by how supportive they are.
With conversations about unification of the profession likely to be a big section of the work on BAA Board over the next 12 months now is the time for BAA to strengthen it’s voice to ensure our members are well represented going forwards.
I hope my thoughts might provoke some in you and if you want more information on standing for BAA Board please click here.
President's Blog 12th August 2019
What is the significance of that number? It’s the amount of days I have left as BAA President, doesn’t time fly?
So, I’ve started to think about where we are at as BAA Board and the projects that we are working on.
You have seen I hope several reactive pieces from BAA over the 18 months I have been at the helm. We have coordinated many responses to documents released for consultation and I hope we have not missed any significant consultations. We are trying to assign, respond and coordinate our consultations so that we cover as much as possible.
We are working more closely with other organisations in the sector and this includes the College of Audiology work but also the Alliance on Hearing and Deafness and topics like education. A professional body can be there for you whoever you work for and whatever your role in the organisation. We should be able to provide advice and guidance to any Audiologist.
Projects initiated by BAA Board are more hidden and can take a significant amount of time to deliver as they require resources from people who are volunteers to deliver work.
I’m looking towards having our new website up and running. I’m hoping to see the Mentor scheme live. There are new materials to download for members to spread the word about Audiology at local events. We have trained IDA PCC Champions to deliver at regional BAA meetings. We will deliver a tinnitus training online module and our plan is still to support Dementia Training for Audiologists.
I hope I have coordinated the efforts of the BAA Teams and Board Leads well but I really need to push them to deliver on the projects that I feel still need tweaks to complete and that is what you will see me concentrating on over the next few months.
I personally need to deliver on the workforce survey responses and |I will publish that in September.
Watch this space 93 days is long enough – if you believe sleep is optional ….
President's Blog 15th July 2019
Last week we received 2 documents in response to consultations that BAA have commented on.
NICE Quality Standard
The first one is on schedule and has come from NICE, (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have published the NICE Hearing loss (QS 2019) on the NICE website today.
This quality standard covers assessing and managing hearing loss in adults (aged 18 and over). It includes people presenting with hearing loss for the first time in adulthood whether it started in adulthood or earlier. It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement.
BAA Consulted on this standard and raised concerns that the quality standard required a follow up in person, this was amended to allow alternative follow up methods that fit better with a patient’s individual management plan.
There are issues with any quality standard that it is only achievable with funding for the recommendations but in terms of a document that can be used within services and with commissioners this adds to the arsenal for protecting free at the point of delivery NHS services.
BAA chose to be a supporting organisation on the document as we recognise the benefit of this quality standard in improving care. We will work with NICE to promote it to commissioners and service providers.
The standard is available here: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs185
Government Response to the consultation “Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation”
This document has taken 18 months from the close of the consultation to publication. There are no plans in the document that have been developed enough to justify such a long delay in publication, and although the document is the first thing I’ve seen that is collaborative across all the home country governments the detail is for me lacking on the next steps.
I welcome the fact that it is finally published. I’ve picked out a few statements that to me are key, even after reforms it states, “The ultimate decision about whether a new group should be regulated will remain with Ministers”.
“5.56. The UK and Devolved Governments believe that a case can be made for fewer regulatory bodies but acknowledge that more work is needed before bringing such a proposal forward. The UK and Devolved Governments will consider how best to develop proposals to reconfigure the professional regulation landscape. Any proposals to reconfigure the regulatory bodies will be subject to public consultation”.
“It is important that the regulatory bodies set out a clear framework for how they will support the development and maintenance of professional standards. The UK and Devolved Governments believe that the changes we will make to modernise fitness to practise processes will enable the regulatory bodies to place a greater emphasis on supporting the professionalism of all registrants”.
So, we have a document that we have waited 18 months for that just says further consultation is required before any reform that might make things safer and clearer for the public. It is disappointing and the slow pace of this is very clear.
You can read the full document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/promoting-professionalism-reforming-regulation
BAA will continue to engage in every part of the ongoing registration and regulation conversations whenever possible.
Please nominate your colleagues for a BAA Award. You have until 23rd August to send in your nominations for:
- Lisa Bayliss Award
- Audiologist of the Year in memory of Peggy Chalmers
- Team of the Year
- Paul Doody Placement Supervisor of the Year
- BAA Paediatric Audiologist of the Year - Sponsored by Phonak
- BAA Student of the Year Award - Sponsored by Oticon
You can nominate here: https://www.baaudiology.org/conference/awards/#.XSxCBOhKjcs
Why do we think awards matter?
Awards allow you to recognise the great work you and your colleagues are doing on a national stage. They have been used in business for may years to increase moral and motivation of staff. The act of writing a nomination often clarifies the reasons why you think your colleagues should be recognised outside of your own department and brings a new focus to the great qualities of those colleagues. Not everyone can win an award they are nominated for, but all nominations are considered in detail by the various voting groups involved in the awards.
You can of course share your nomination with your colleague after the awards are announced to show how much you appreciate their work too.
President's Blog 17th June 2019
I only have one word for you this week and that is workforce.
It is a couple of years since BAA conducted a workforce survey and we need to do that again. We are interested in getting as many NHS audiology departments in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales to fill out the survey and give BAA data we can use to lobby for more training and staffing to enable continued and appropriate support for the people we serve.
I’m asking every department to fill in the survey, you don’t need to be a BAA Member, so we have up to date and accurate information. It’s a detailed survey covering grades of staff, the activities they undertake, the registration and in some cases the qualifications they have.
3 of our Board Members who are heads of service have filled out the survey, it will take you about 20-30 minutes but without this information we can’t show the need for more specialist training, recruitment and retention issues and the types of roles that need more support.
The plan is to share the results of the survey widely across the U.K. and at the highest levels.
We need evidence of the things Audiologists are saying to myself and other BAA Board Members.
Is there a genuine shortage of higher-grade staff with specialist training?
Do we need to find a way of training staff in specialist areas like Cochlear Implants?
Are we loosing heads of service who are not being replaced?
Is adult rehabilitation being undertaken by non-qualified staff?
Please take the time to fill in the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BAAStateofAudiology
President's Blog 3rd June 2019
It is about to be a busy few weeks as we lead into summer at BAA.
Victoria Adshead is well under way in her role as our Digital Communications Executive with her first focus on getting the new website up and running. In the image you will see one of our SQC team profiles and the new website will include these for many of our teams.
Many members of the BAA Publicity and Communications team will be at the British Society of Audiology Meeting on Wednesday this week and we will be recording some video content of our teams for the website. Victoria and Sam Lear our Membership Lead for Board will be looking after our stand, whilst Susannah Goggins our Publicity and Communication Board Lead will be helping to gather video content with John Waters from Publicity and Communications.
It’s great to see BSA holding a physical meeting this year for their members and many BAA members are also members of BSA so I hope to see a lot of familiar faces on Wednesday. The agenda for BSA has some great research content but also a fantastic focus on bringing leading U.K. experts together in round table sessions to translate the research into clinical practice. It should be a great format for implementation of the work that BSA do and I am looking forward to attending the sessions.
IDA and BAA PCC Champions Training
The next big BAA event will be the IDA training for our regional reps and early professionals. I want to thank the staff and Claire Benton at Nottingham Audiology for the use of their premises for this training. By the end of June, we will have 20 person centred care champions ready to spread the message locally and nationally to our colleagues. As a Hearing Therapist and a rehabilitation specialist in audiology this fills me with absolute delight and excitement. Audiology in any role is about the people we serve, I don’t care if you call them patients, clients or customers I call them people. The people who access our services deserve a person-centred approach to their support and care. Many in our profession provide fantastic person-centred care but being able to teach that approach to our other colleagues to strengthen their own skills and particularly to our early professional colleagues will ensure we can embed this approach across all BAA Audiologists and beyond into our own workplaces.
We have also invited IDA to run a workshop on Paediatric Tools at our conference and this will be open to delegates on Friday morning. We will ask you to express an interest in attending that workshop and get a ticket for a space so that the session can run in a planned manner so watch out for that information in the conference posts.
Did I mention our conference registration is now open?
I hope you have seen this on our Social Media, Website, and emails but just in case you missed it, BAA Conference returns to Liverpool on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th November 2019.
Early Bird Member registration cost is just £209 that’s just £1.27 per day from now to conference.
Enough on conference for now, please look at our social media for information on our fantastic speakers, interactive content and extra value items which will make this years conference different to last year as we continue to excel in providing the U.K. s largest event for Audiology.
On a personal note, after BSA Conference I will be taking a holiday for a week in Wales – the phone and email will be off, and I will get chance to recharge. I wish I was like a rechargeable hearing instrument and it only took a couple of hours to be back to 100% but sadly you can’t plug a human in like that…. yet, so I will instead unplug for a week to recharge.
I wish you all good holidays over the summer when they arrive and I will be back in time for BSHAA Congress which is taking place this year on 21st and 22nd June in Coventry.
President's Blog 20th May 2019
Following on from my last blog I wanted to update you on the BAA Regional Reps and meetings. As anyone who has read my blog knows regional meetings are very close to my heart and I have missed the regular meetings over the last year or so.
My heart still belongs to Yorkshire and Humberside where I was supported by the local networks of BAA when I first trained, they sparked my curiosity for things happening outside my own department. I know I now belong to the North West group who are also great but I’m hoping to sneak across the border to what feels like home when they next meet.
The BAA Regional groups team met on 11th April and although not all the reps could attend the meeting was helpful and gave more focus to the regional agendas for the year.
BAA want to ensure that the Regional Groups get good information from Board to share with members and although we try to ensure a Board Member attends each group we do sometimes struggle with work commitments. In consultation with the regional team Board have invited a regional rep to the next board meeting and Linor Llwd Jones from Wales will be able to attend. This gives a great communication opportunity between the meetings and the regional groups and will hopefully be something that supports members locally to get more from BAA Board meetings.
We also want our regional groups to spread the word on Person Centred Care and BAA are providing a joint training event for the regional leads with IDA in June. This is a Train the Trainer event and the group leads will be able to offer sessions at their meetings and in their areas on PCC after this event. It’s really exciting to invest in these professionals and develop their skills ready for their regions. I’m looking forward to seeing them all at the training.
The North West regional meeting was held on 1st May by Alison Edwards, the venue was in Chester. Looking at the new NICE referral criteria for Cochlear Implants as one of the main topics allowed a good update for those present. There was also discussion about the HTS Scheme and the College – both discussions have been fed back to BAA Board and we are working to respond positively to the members in the meeting, particularly on HTS.
Lorraine Feinte ran a meeting in Northern Ireland on 16th May, apologies I don’t have any information to share from that one as it was just last week.
Tanay Patel is busy organising an Anglia meeting for October which he hopes to run in Cambridge, more details will appear on the BAA website as his plans fall into place.
Sarah Murcott and Lauren Archer are organising a Thames Valley meeting also in October, again as plans fall into place we will see this on the website, so keep checking.
The website will keep you up to date on the forthcoming meetings throughout the year. Please keep a look out and go along to enjoy networking with your local colleagues.
Those networks I built in the early 1990s have lasted my whole career and I still appreciate my local BAA lead, who was Janet Jackson from Halifax taking the time to organise and make the meetings useful to me and my colleagues.
President's Blog 7th May 2019
The BAA Board met on 29th April. The minutes will be published after signing off at the next meeting but some areas we discussed can be shared by me here.
First, I hope most of you have read that Board appointed the next Vice President and after that President of BAA. I am delighted that Kathryn Lewis has accepted the position. Kath has many years’ experience in Audiology and is well known both in the North West Area and Nationally for her dedication to the next generation of audiologists and her passion for the profession. Kath is a calm and resolute voice on board and will bring her passion and knowledge to the role. It’s not an easy thing to take on and I will use this opportunity to thank Kath, her colleagues and her managers for their support of BAA in this way.
Kath will take on the role in November during the AGM at Conference when I step down as President and Karen Shepherd becomes BAA President.
At the Board meeting I was able to discuss the meeting I had with the Alliance Group and Dame Professor Sue Hill the CSO for England with Michelle Foster our Board Lead for Healthcare Science. It became clear as we talked that influencing on a very local level rather than through the CSO office will be very important to align with new Health Policies in England. After some discussion we decided to record Michelle presenting a talk she has given to her local Trust about Healthcare Science and what it can do for the Diagnostic Hubs that are being set up in community health. The presentation will be available shortly.
The Other piece of work that comes from all of the meetings with NHS E is workforce. In 2016 BAA asked members to complete a workforce survey, we feel this data needs collecting again and improving. Over the next month we will prepare a new workforce data survey. Without data we will struggle to influence policy, and this is not collected and shared by anyone else for England.
In England we will look to connect the data to new ICS areas so that we can help our members build better links to their local Healthcare Science Leads.
I will connect with the HoS groups in the other home countries to establish the data they are already able to collect in their own networks, which as you know are much more formal and national than English Heads of Service in audiology groups.
This is a long enough blog for today, but I want to share updates around regional groups and SQC too over the next few weeks.
I will leave you with a simple thought. To best represent our members, we need your continued engagement at local and national level – as usual I will say, if you don’t get involved – who will?
President’s Blog 8th April 2019
A few things to report back on this week.
Meeting with the Hearing and Deafness Alliance and Sue Hill (Chief Scientific Officer NHS England).
The Hearing and Deafness Alliance were formed several years ago to work with NHS England on the Action Plan on Hearing Loss as a cross sector group. They have delivered a number of initiatives with NHSE but recently all the funding for this work was cut drastically at NHSE and the Alliance had met with Sue Hill previously to look at streamlining the work and prioritising as we did not want to lose some of the workstreams that are ongoing.
The meeting with Sue Hill was productive as she is looking to align the work of the Alliance to the NHS Long Term Plan.
Sue Hill outlined the continuing complexity of the changes and that all programme work was now geared around the Long-term plan. The CSO office are still looking at how the alliance could provide examples of innovation that fit into new structures as good examples to consider when commissioning services.
The CSO Office will be adding all documents produced by the Alliance and CSO Office to the NHS Knowledge Hub to make them easily accessible.
It was generally a positive meeting although there are such large changes in the NHS structures currently it was very unclear how the CSO Office could influence some of the new structures and plans. The decision by the CSO to meet again with the Alliance group in 3 months was positive as she did not want these things to fall from the agenda in the changes.
MICRA Ageing Network
I was asked to speak to a mixed group of professionals interested in Hearing, Sight and Dementia at the University of Manchester MICRA Ageing Network. www.micra.mancheter.ac.uk
The meeting was well attended, and my brief was to speak about the links and the effects of hearing loss as a comorbidity for those people living with dementia. The mixed group of professionals from all 3 specialisms required an introductory presentation on recommendations, numbers and effects of hearing loss. The presentations and work from the much more interesting priority setting workshops that followed will be on the MICRA website shortly and it was great to see a number of audiologists BAA are working with in the room. I hope the chance for that small group of specialists in Audiology and Dementia as well as Learning Disabilities was productive for them as they are key to BAA providing training specifically to Audiologists on Dementia, hopefully later this year. Good to see you, Anna, Sarah and Siobhan, let me know what you need next.
You will find a report on the Collaborative Event held in Bristol on 25th March in the news section of the website.
My impressions of the day are very much that we once again had positive and interesting discussions with a variety of different professionals. It was part of the feedback on the College of Audiology statement and in the main was very positive. The next steps on this are to be decided in May after a BAA Board meeting at the end of this month.
We will be writing some answers to feedback questions and publish those with our other sector colleagues for our members. Please be assured we have heard all your feedback both positive and negative and will consider the next steps carefully.
It’s been a busy time in my day job and I’ve done many events and spoken a lot about hearing technology over the last few weeks. I want to tell you about one of these sessions as it really made me think.
I attended an international students conference at Leeds University organised to bring students from across Europe together. I gave a brief presentation but then handed each student a pair of hearing instruments and an iPad with an APP that controls the technology. I gave them no instructions at all, just said have a go. It was fabulous to watch as they grabbed the technology and used it, the app gave them control, they understood it and all the features they were presented with almost instantly. They could see some of the new features as “why wouldn’t you want this, even with normal hearing?”. Why am I telling you this when I never talk about the day job here? I’m telling you because it was a point I realised that the conversation about hearing well and living well was starting to be a possibility. The point that I thought we are one generation away from this technology just being part of life. From them believing that knowing they can hear is important. Are we speaking to the converted? Yes obviously, but can’t we just take their enthusiasm and start going for that normalisation from an early age? I know it takes a generation to change things if we start there but let’s start.
OK so I guess I’m telling you because it was just exciting to see the way they used the technology, the way they devoured it and the uses they could see for it.
After a few weeks of policy and politics just enjoying the enthusiasm of the students was such a positive experience it feels like a good note to end this week on.
President's Blog 25th March 2019
I write my blogs usually on the Sunday before they are published in Horizons on Monday. Today is no exception and I’m getting ready for a busy week.
Tomorrow is the Collaborative Event with BSA and BSHAA joining BAA to host an event in Bristol. That means for me travelling on a Sunday to the venue. It’s unusual for me to be away on BAA business overnight as the costs of that are always considered but sometimes it is unavoidable, as in this case.
The event tomorrow is an opportunity for members of the 3 organisations to speak together about the idea of more joint working and indeed the possibility of the College of Audiology. Looking at the feedback we have received on the joint statement has been interesting and will feed conversations over the spring and summer. I do want to emphasise that there are no decisions being made and we are just in conversation and consultation. I appreciate things do happen behind the scenes sometimes, but for me transparency in this work is so important for members and I will keep publishing progress or otherwise here as it happens.
I keep saying here that for me the NHS Audiology Service is a core belief of mine. I’ve worked in 4 NHS departments in my career – they all begin with B – but I think that is a coincidence not a choice. I sometimes worry that because of the role I currently do as my employment I am thought of as not in touch with the NHS, and indeed have made some deliberate efforts to ensure BAA Board will always have an NHS focussed Director by adding a Healthcare Science Lead to the Board. I asked Michelle Foster to take on this role as it’s important that our members are represented by someone working in a traditional NHS setting at some meetings. As Michelle takes this role forwards it ensures the rest of BAA Board can have wider and more profession focussed roles whilst being certain we are aware of the NHS agenda and ready to represent our NHS members as professionals.
BAA does not just represent professionals working in traditional NHS settings, but we do have a core of membership that work there. BAA as a professional body is focussed on quality and professionalism of audiologists and promote guidance and practice for all our members, this should be wherever the member chooses to work and that is why you see BAA working across the sector with our members and trying to support them in other settings.
In my occupational role I have many contacts, colleagues and friends in many organisations, I love the opportunity to network with them at events like the Collaborative Event and often find myself deep in conversation in the exhibition hall with a variety of professionals. It’s important to me that all these professionals can be represented by BAA I will not apologise for leading a professional body that has diversity in its membership and its representation, but I will always ensure NHS services are included in our Board decisions.
I’m looking forward to seeing members tomorrow and I will ensure there is a write up of the event available for those that have not attended.
Presidents Blog 11th March 2019
A lot has happened since I last wrote a blog. My apologies for missing one but sometimes when a lot is happening all at the same time something must slip, and it was my blog.
On the 11th February BAA released a joint statement with 3 other organisations on the idea of forming a College of Audiology to provide a more unified voice for Audiology in the U.K. You can read that statement here: https://www.baaudiology.org/indexphpnews/news-home/joint-statement-unified-voice/
Thank you to those that have contacted me or left a message on the Survey Monkey link. I want to pick up on some of the early feedback here in relation to the involvement of NCHA (National Community Hearing Association) in this statement.
To make this clear NCHA approached BAA, BSA and BSHAA to start these conversations and to see if there was an appetite for setting up a College of Audiology. The BSA Chair Ted Killan continues to organise meetings.
It would not have been appropriate or transparent to our members to leave NCHA out of this initial statement as, although they are not a professional body or a learned society in the same way as BAA, BSA and BSHAA, they do have a voice in the sector.
You can read about the NCHA goals here: https://the-ncha.com/about-us/
As President of BAA I acknowledge that the NCHA has approached commissioners, hospitals and CSOs with Freedom of Information requests or other queries. I have no doubt the NCHA will continue to challenge as it tries to achieve its goals, as the BAA and others will challenge to achieve our goals.
At the same time, I am under no illusion that the NCHA’s goals are not necessarily those BAA Members aspire to. However, I want to reassure members of BAA, that BAA Board are in the college discussions as we feel it is time for the professionals involved in Audiology to unite to provide a stronger voice for the profession. We want policies and guidance to be based on evidence and if that evidence is not available, we want to develop the evidence with authority and publish that.
It does not matter at this stage who was involved in this initial statement what matters is – do you think the College of Audiology is an idea worth pursuing?
The governance and structure of a college would be based around new not existing structures and would cover the whole area of Audiology not just Adult Acquired Hearing Loss – we will continually make this point and will not agree to a structure that does not support the whole field of Audiology.
The next steps are to look at the feedback, to meet with those members attending the Collaborative event this month, details of that are here: https://fitwise.eventsair.com/QuickEventWebsitePortal/baacollaborativeevent2019/collab
Then to consult with other organisations within our sector and include them in the next steps. I am getting an overwhelming sense that people feel the time is right to be in this discussion and it is likely that over the summer we will form a larger group looking at what a College would be responsible for and how those responsibilities would best be served in a structure.
I have said that this is a long-term project and this first statement is only the beginning – I believe it is. I want to say that we have come a long way just being able to start a productive discussion with all those involved and engaged so far. Let’s not lose sight of the goal and let’s keep talking to all those involved.
Person-Centered Care Online Learning Activities
I’m delighted to share with you the first piece of joint working between the Ida Institute and BAA.
BAA chose to partner with Ida in November to strengthen our focus on person-centered care and provide unique opportunities to BAA members in partnership with Ida.
You can find the first piece of Ida directed learning and an exclusive member access to Louise Hickson’s conference lecture in the member section of the website by logging in and choosing CPD then Look at the bottom of the menu for IDA and BAA CPD activities.
Train the Trainer workshop
Regional BAA Group Leads are being invited to become PCC Champions and BAA together with experienced IDA staff will be running a 2 day workshop to train the trainers within BAA who will then be able to train at a local level on Person Centered Care. This workshop is scheduled for June and I look forward to more details being shared with our Regional groups Leads next month.
We haven’t finalised anything for conference as yet, but we hope to have an exclusive Ida Paediatric Workshop in place for conference – watch this space as details of this develop.
BAA at the American Academy of Audiology Conference
For the last few years BAA have been approached to provide a one-hour session on the AAA agenda, we have politely declined this invitation as we do not feel it benefits you, our members at all. Raising awareness of U.K. Audiology is on our agenda for recruitment and retention of staff but we feel this is better delivered in other ways.
Website and Communications
Over the last few weeks we have advertised, interviewed and appointed to a Digital Communications Executive post for BAA. We feel this role will help to deliver the new website and continually keep that updated and relevant for members. We also hope to improve our Social Media – becoming more consistent with content as well as developing our messages and campaigns.
We are confident a great person has been appointed that will assist BAA in getting more messages out to you and the wider world in a timely manner. As you can imagine the process for final contract and agreements takes a little time, but I hope to be able to introduce you to the new person in the role over the next few weeks.
I will sign off for now and update you further in the next few weeks. Don’t forget to follow BAA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for those quick updates.
President's Blog 11th February 2019
Let’s talk about networks. I’ve become aware during my term as President that the way to navigate most challenges in work is through a supportive network of colleagues. Every workplace has a network you are joined together by your employer and your team becomes your first network. So, what is a network and why are they becoming more relevant to Audiologists working particularly in the NHS?
A network is usually thought of as a community of interest. It’s a place for discussion, sharing knowledge and good practice as well as getting news views and information. I have always believed that BAA and being an active part of the BAA network has helped my career. I’ve met Audiologists of many grades, years of experience and specialisms who have, over the years given me great advice to help me navigate my various roles, from providing examples to sharing guidance and protocols.
The NHS has always had networks and I’ve found those useful in my career too. I completed an Open University Management certificate many years ago in my own Trust and discovered a whole new network of people interested in leading their departments. The course faculty was from my own trust but included the Finance Director, head of Human Resources and even the Trust Chief Executive, handing in an assignment to them was a daunting experience, even worse was the feedback session, but it taught me some important lessons.
Audiology is not a well-known specialism within a Trust. Assumptions are made about our level of autonomy, our amount of patient contact and our qualification levels. Over the last year I have been watching Michelle Foster, Board Director for Healthcare Science and Claire Benton a relatively new Head of Service in Nottingham and our Board Director for Conference build their networks in the HealthCare Science teams in their Trusts, in their regions and nationally. It has helped them immensely in their roles to negotiate for their departments, to get wider acknowledgement for the work Audiology does in their trusts and to get mentorship for themselves.
So how do you do that in your own workplace?
Healthcare Science week is a great opportunity and NHS Employers have a starter kit for you, take a look at https://www.nhsemployers.org/-/media/Employers/Publications/HCSW-Activities.pdf
And start your networking locally, it is the way you can start to build a supportive network in your own workplace that is relevant to working inside the NHS in any specialism.
President's Blog 28th January 2019
By the time you read this I will be in Minneapolis hiding from the weather over there that is predicted to be below minus 20 degrees C for my whole trip, spare me a thought as the U.K. hovers around zero this week. This does mean I will be 6 hours behind U.K. time next week so please expect even more random times on any emails or social media posts you see from me.
The biggest thing I need to tell you about in my blog is the decision we have made to place an advert for a part time Digital Communications Executive. Communication with members and ensuring you have good quality information and resources in a timely manner is one thing I feel BAA should provide to members. It’s become clear through the redevelopment of the website that we can no longer rely on this being done by BAA volunteers who have other jobs. Although our administration company can put on advertising, conference and events and minutes of meetings we need someone who is horizon scanning for content and planning and delivering new and engaging content all the time. We want to be able to use multimedia on the website and example of this is videos. To provide good video content we will need someone with experience of video production and dedicated time to film and edit the videos. Being able to respond to events in the wider healthcare arena in a timely way and coordinating with BAA Board Leads for events such as Healthcare Science week will all be part of this role.
When we exited the agreement with our Consultant CEO it was because we felt BAA Members would see more value for money now in a Communications Professional who will engage with Board to ensure members get great content online and by email.
Developing our message as The British Academy of Audiology and our brand is important and the website is the front face of that brand. This role does not require an Audiologist necessarily, they will have the support of the Board and the Publications and Communications team, so I am hoping we attract applicants from a variety of backgrounds who can help BAA develop the ideas and information we generate and receive from membership.
The new BAA website is behind schedule, with many more possibilities in how content is added we are finding it more time consuming than we expected to get the content we already have on the site, you may have guessed some of this from the information above. We feel that to give the new recruit time to make an impact on the website a go live date of 1st May is more realistic. We might ask you to take an early look around before that but for a full switch over giving a little breathing space for membership renewals in March and April the date seems realistic.
Most of you will hopefully have seen that RCCP are looking for a new chair now that Trefor Watts has decided to step down. Tefor states that “I have been associated with the RCCP for many years and I am proud that during my tenure I achieved my two main priorities: RCCP achieving PSA accreditation for its voluntary register as a precursor to statutory regulation for Clinical Physiologists.
Updating the management structure and the support for RCCP to meet the requirements of the modern NHS and especially regulation”. Trefor leaves the organisation in a much better place and I encourage any suitably qualified Clinical Physiologists to apply for the post of Chair, details can be found here: https://www.baaudiology.org/indexphpnews/news-home/rccp-seeks-new-chair/
Healthcare Science Week
Healthcare Science Week 2019 is running from 8 – 17 March 2019. It is a fantastic opportunity for your organisation to promote and raise awareness of the many science careers, pathways and development opportunities available in the health sector. BAA Board Lead for HCS, Michelle Foster will be recording an Audiology segment for the CSO promotions and BAA will be sharing that to encourage recruitment.
So, having added in a piece about RCCP and HCS I now feel the need to share something with you.
With all these different ways of referring to ourselves depending on if we are talking about employers, training or registration does anyone else just want to stand up and say, “I’m an Audiologist”? I’m starting my own personal crusade to always capitalise the A in Audiologist and Audiology. I was looking at the BAA About page and right from our inception we have said “The BAA aims to help its members to develop in their professional skills, provide a benchmark for quality and professional standards and promote Audiology as an autonomous profession”. That’s me I always say when asked, “I’m an Audiologist” – I can register as a Hearing Therapist or a Hearing Aid Dispenser, but I always start with “I’m an Audiologist”, and yes, I often respond to the “Pardon?” that often follows ????. Audiologist is not a protected title sadly and, anyone can use it but it’s still what I am – cut me open and I’m pretty sure like a piece of rock it will say “I’m an Audiologist”. So, lets just start being proud of that statement – I am, and I hope always will be an Audiologist, aiming top help people live better with hearing issues in the way that suits them and offering them a holistic and person-centred approach to their journey through whatever system I’m working with in.
Enough of my nonsense I’m off to be an Audiologist interested in new technology.
President's Blog 14th January 2019
I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year.
The year has started off relatively quietly for BAA and I’ve spent most of it responding to emails and meeting requests for the next couple of months.
We now have an agenda in place for the next Collaborative Event in Bristol on 25th March. These events are aimed at bringing together members of BAA, BSHAA and the BSA to discuss shared themes. It’s a different agenda to other BAA led meetings and aims to build on the shared agendas such as public health messaging, recruitment and retention of staff that are common across the sector. By moving these collaborative events around the country, we hope to engage with members in different areas and allow them to network with their colleagues from different settings who also provide hearing healthcare. I hope some BAA members already have the date in their diaries to attend and I look forward to some lively discussions at the event.
BAA will back a campaign by the City Lit in London to raise awareness of lipreading classes and help them recruit more teachers for training this year. City Lit are the only place that provides lipreading teacher training and BAA see this as an important aspect of rehabilitation needs for some people so we will provide support to the #ReadMyLips campaign.
I’ve been in discussions with the IDA Institute and BAA are planning to work with them to provide a Train the Trainer workshop and an Early Professionals workshop for BAA members in the summer. We are just ironing out some logistics but hope we can spread the messages of Person Centred Care by supporting a group of about 20 members to become BAA Champions on a regional level of this approach.
The Hearing and Deafness Alliance meet in March and BAA will attend that meeting.
Michelle Foster will represent BAA at the CSO Leaders’ Summit this year again in March.
I will be attending both the RCCP Board meetings and the Academy of Healthcare Science One Voice meeting during these first few weeks of the new year. There is a detailed workforce report compiled by AHCS that is yet to be published and I hope the next meeting of the One Voice Group will see this signed off for publication.
We will also see the first conference call about BAA conference 2019 next week where the new Programme Team start to get to grips with your feedback from 2018 and begin booking our speakers. As I have said before we get many requests for speaking slots at our conference, but the programme team are tasked with making the agenda as diverse as possible to appeal to many members, so the work must start as early as possible in the year. By May we hope to have our main speakers in place so that we can release our Free Paper slots to those that submit abstracts. It really does take a full year to plan.
I’d like to use my final words to congratulate Andrew Coulter (HAD) who has just taken over the Presidency of BSHAA, I know Andrew and feel that the relationships we have built across the sector are in safe hands with him. Congratulations Andrew and I look forward to working with you.
President's Blog 10th December 2018
With a new BAA Board Member, Susannah Goggins joining Board in November we have had a small reshuffle. Susannah will lead our publicity and communications team and I’m looking forward to some great new materials for members to use to advocate for Audiology locally and nationally.
We have created a new board role which will be filled this year by Michelle Foster, this role is BAA Board Director for Healthcare Science. This new role will ensure BAA have consistent but professional input to the Healthcare Science agendas in our health services. I don’t believe BAA should, as a professional body just represent those working in our NHS services but I do believe that by developing a role that is very specific to our NHS Healthcare Science agendas we will be able to represent those agendas better.
As I hope many of you picked up from your email and Horizons BAA have chosen to rethink the position of Consultant CEO and consequently Wendy Farrington-Chadd is no longer in that post. This will mean that members of BAA Board will support One Voice at the Academy of Healthcare Science and the Hearing Loss Alliance meetings in a different way.
Our main focus for the New Year is adding value to your membership and as such we have decided to use the funds available to BAA in different ways, to improve our communication with you, our members.
I’ve had two RCCP Board meetings over the last few weeks so registration and regulation are at the front of my mind again. RCCP are discussing restructuring their board to make it more fit for purpose going forwards as a PSA Accredited register, they will release more information in the New Year.
BAA have been told that the government decision on regulation and registration for healthcare professionals we consulted on last December is not likely to be published until after Brexit happens, and as I write this I don’t hold out much hope for a speedy publication after that as I’m sure Government priorities will be affected by that change for many years to come.
I would urge everyone to be on a professional register and ask those employing Audiologists to check the registers and ensure the professional is appropriately registered for the role they will be employed in. The Professional Standards Authority did produce a “check the register” page to make it easier for members of the public to check their professional is registered. Whilst I applaud the idea when you are looking for your Audiologists registration there are still 3 registers to check and 4 categories! Are you a HCPC Clinical Scientist, Hearing Aid Dispenser? An RCCP Audiologist or Hearing Therapist or on the AHCS register? How on earth do we communicate all those to a patient effectively if they want to check? No one register fits all our professionals and I continue to be frustrated by this.
However if you want to have a go here is the link to the PSA check your professional https://www.professionalstandards.org.uk/check-practitioners
I refuse to give up my own professional registration as an RCCP registered Audiologist and a Hearing Therapist but I’ve also registered as a HCPC Hearing Aid Dispenser. There has been some talk in professional circles of the HCPC title being changed from Hearing Aid Dispenser to a more Audiology focused title but HCPC have confirmed to BAA that the title is in the statute books and would require a change in the law to change the registered name for that professional.
BAA need to advocate for Audiology as a profession and I’m keen we work with partner organisations across the sector on this, however we need to understand the roles that exist, work within our own scope of practice and make sure patients, who are the most important in all this can easily check they are being seen by a registered professional.
This brings me neatly onto wax removal. Many professionals have now trained to undertake wax removal, it is an area that has no regulation or published procedural guidance, you don’t need to be registered as any professional to undertake wax removal. This concerns me and I am starting to think that we could all use our social media to ask the public to check their wax removal is being done by an appropriately registered practitioner.
As BAA members please ensure you are trained to undertake the wax removal methods you use, that it is in your job description and specifically covered by your medical malpractice or similar professional insurance.
Wax removal does have a training guidance published by the British Society of Audiology, (BSA) these can be accessed here: https://www.thebsa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Aural-Care-Minimum-Training-Guidelines.pdf
If you are considering attending wax removal training please refer to the training guidance and compare the offer from the course you are attending to that guidance.
There was also a draft recommended procedure for wax removal from BSA last year and this is currently being redrafted before going back out to consultation.
I want to make it clear that BAA does not accredit or recommend any wax removal training courses and never has. If you have a certificate with our logo on it that is a CPD points only accreditation and as you know we stopped using a points based system a number of years ago, we have made it clear to providers that BAA does not accredit wax removal courses, or allow our logo to be used on certificates or websites to say we have accredited a wax removal course.
The decision to use your money to take legal action against those using our logo inappropriately on websites and certificates is one I try to avoid and we politely request our logo is removed, this is normally complied with and we do try to go back and check. However if you feel the BAA logo is being misused we welcome your reports to BAA Admin.
Sorry I’m finishing on that note but it’s very important to be clear on our position as an organisation on this, particularly with the emphasis community wax removal gets from NICE.
So this is the last blog for 2019. I wish you all a great festive season and a Happy and Healthy 2019.
President's Blog 12th November 2018
Wow! That was intense. I had the pleasure of hosting BAA Conference last week and I believe we did a great job as a team.
I was much more nervous last week than last year when I accepted the President’s role, I hope it did not show too much, although I know I made a couple of very public mistakes.
I need to offer some thanks so please bear with me for the whole of this blog, it is so important to me to do this.
We have a conference lead on BAA Board – Claire Benton coordinates everything, ideas, suggestions, legal information, venues, caterers, speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, delegates, the list is endless.
It’s not a job even the super human powers of Claire can do alone, and we have a professional events team at Fitwise who ensure the event runs seamlessly. Phyllis Tait, Sarah Black, Gwen Campbell and Catherine Wilson are all getting special mentions here.
The programme team had a few difficulties this year and I am going to thank David Maidment for sticking with us and doing a lot of the programme development without other team members. Sarah Hodgson and Matthew Allsop were late additions and I would like to thank them for the help they gave.
Many of you enjoy the gala dinner at conference and the team behind the decorations and format of that are, Sonam Sehemby, Alex Griffiths-Brown and Louise Jenkinson. We keep all these teams small and that adds to their workloads, but they do such a great job, I’m sure you agree.
As a team we read your feedback, which is sometimes brutal, as well as chat to you during conference. We aim to implement the things that we can. One thing you will have seen this year is an increase in the amount of presentations you can directly relate to your everyday clinical practice. We asked our speakers to give clear take home messages and many of them took that on board – thank you to them.
We know that we can’t please all the people all the time, but we do care and we do try to change things where it is at all possible.
I want to thank our Platinum sponsors. They help us make conference happen. They also feed back to us and again we try to implement their feedback where possible. The exhibition hall looked amazing this year and I think the level of engagement with the Platinum Sponsors speaker track was also higher than in previous years.
I want to make a special mention to two Sponsors, Resound for making Claire’s indoor fountain dream a reality and P.C. Werth for sponsoring the Dee Sign Choir at our opening ceremony.
Next the awards, congratulations to all our award winners this year and thank you to Phonak and Oticon who both sponsor an award with a great prize.
We will be updating the awards page on the website with the winners as soon as possible. Thank you to all those that nominated and I look forward to seeing even more nominations next year.
BAA Board Members are your facilitators for many of the conference sessions and I hope many of you chatted to them on our stand too. Thank you to them for their skilled facilitation, their support over the last 12 months and their hard work.
I’m all the way at the end and I haven’t thanked the two most important groups at a conference. Our speakers – who I have to say were excellent this year. Brilliant, funny, informative and engaged are the comments I would use for the ones that I watched.
The last people to thank are the delegates. Without people being interested in attending we wouldn’t have a conference and I thank each and every one of you for making Liverpool 2018 fabulous.
See you all again in 2019 – we return to the excellent ACC in Liverpool on 14th and 15th November 2019.
President's Blog 29th October 2018
So, the blog before conference – you would expect me to tell you about conference I think, but we do that in lots of other places. I am looking forward to seeing many members at conference and seeing non-members I can talk to about why BAA is the professional body for them, but let’s leave conference there.
With the new website being built I have started to think about what we should have in the members area and what should be public information and I hope by the start of the new year we will have much more content in the members only areas of the website. Please don’t worry if you can’t remember your password I am told we will all need to reset them and will get a link to that in an email.
The Early Professionals area causes most issues when I think about public and member access. We want to have information there for those considering joining our profession, that is encouraging and inspirational, but we need to think about Audiology Students joining the professional body too and giving them more information when they log in.
As a profession encouraging our potential workforce is so important but we need to remember that your money as members is most of BAA’s income and we try to provide true member benefit at all levels. I am keen that we consider things like the free Early Professionals Conference we are considering for next year in terms of how we add to the education our Universities are providing and we make the agenda there relevant to future careers and early years in clinical settings rather than presenting on the actual University experience.
With the start of our careers often shaping our enthusiasm for staying in our profession I think we as existing professionals must encourage and inspire the next generation to stay within the profession and make Audiology sustainable for the future.
We hear a significant amount about Millennials and how they enter our workplaces with different expectations and experiences. Born between 1982 and 2002
So, if you are wanting to support our new professionals in the workplace and are attending conference can I suggest you attend the session at the end of day 1 presented by Kevin Wyke and with the challenging title, Snowflakes and Millennials - Lazy Arrogant Selfish. The challenge of building an engaged future workforce.
Kevin suggests the learning objectives for that session are:
- Explore the challenges of attracting and retaining our future workforce.
- Explore some of the inter-generational myths and truths that can help or hinder engagement.
- Help participants to shape a fresh approach to engaging their current and future workforce.
All that in 30 minutes? It promises to be a challenging session for those involved in recruitment and retention. I hope Kevin will also be persuaded to write some pieces for those members not at conference for the website and the magazine.
In the meantime why not get a taster for the whole topic and see why you might find the Millennial Generation a challenge in a traditional work place by watching this Ted X talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmwHh0oNr00
I am personally looking at developing a package of materials individual members can take into a school event or career show that will engage potential new recruits to our profession, so when that question was posed on the Facebook Group this week asking for ideas for such an event, I had a few links to share.
Our strategy for 2019 will be to ask members of our Early professionals group to take a lead at the careers and University events we are invited to as BAA and I hope this will engage a younger audience to think about joining them in the future and being our workforce.
I’m looking forward to having some fun creating the materials and I hope you will take a little time to consider how you might use them at events within your work. Now does anyone have any ideas how I might make a Tonoscope a bit more Infection Control friendly? https://vimeo.com/33797702
See you at conference…..
President's Blog 15th October 2018
It is just over 3 weeks away from the 15th British Academy of Audiology in Liverpool. Time really does fly in the role of BAA President and normally the President would be getting close to writing their last blog. I am the first President since Jonathan Parsons at the very beginning of our history to take on the BAA Presidency for 2 years. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for others to move things the way they wanted in just a year, as I am just starting to see some longer-term projects start to develop.
It has been a year of watching the new Board members develop their teams to achieve our goals and trying to set up useful alliances in areas that BAA see as strategically important.
I attended the HealthCare Science Leaders’ Summit this month and you can read my report here. I try to write these meeting reports as I go and at the time they make sense to me, but I hope they give you the key things being discussed at a meeting too.
Being part of the HealthCare Science community is vital to BAA Members in the NHS. It allows a stronger voice on issues such as workforce, Trust wide initiatives and support networks within Trusts. BAA continue to be a strong supporter of the One Voice work at the Academy of Healthcare Science and use this to take our workforce messages forwards.
We have worked with the British Tinnitus Association and will be launching a short e-learning module at conference to provide basic training for all our members in Tinnitus.
We continue to develop closer links to The BSA and to some extent BSHAA and work with these organisations to ensure that all audiology professionals get support and guidance as appropriate. There are fundamental differences between the organisations, but our clinical guidance and standards should be shared, and we continue to have this goal in mind as we develop ties.
The new website is starting to take shape and will be live to some extent on 8th November for conference. We are starting to look for video content and more member only resources, including in some cases part of the conference agendas.
The website will enable a better public face to our organisation that we have never had before, and we are starting to look at the content our organisation would like the public to have about audiology services and some basic information on hearing and balance.
Going into conference we have elections for new Board members and I am pleased to say that we have had 5 great candidate this year. Thank you to those that have stood for election, I look forward to welcoming the successful candidates to Board in November. Please look for the email you were sent as a member last week and make sure you vote. It really is very easy using your unique email link and allows you to shape positions on the Board.
As always, I hope to meet some of you on my travels over the next few weeks and look forward to welcoming you to conference if you are attending.
I am also attending the European Audiology Congress this week, EUHA and I’m sure I will bump into a few members of BAA whilst there, please say hello and stop for a chat if you are attending and see me.
President's Blog 1st October 2018
When you haven’t really written a blog for a few weeks because it’s been so busy you struggle to decide what to include here. I have been posting some social media updates and we have had Horizons in between blogs so let’s try and hit some things quickly and point you to more information.
BAA Board Meeting
We signed a contract with our Consultant CEO, Wendy Farrington-Chadd for the coming year. Wendy will be providing a member update in each magazine through the year. Wendy has been coordinating our contributions to the One Voice Academy of Health Care Science workforce piece over the last 6 months and will be using the information from this work at BAA Conference to run a session with Professor Brendan Cooper from the Academy. We will be putting information, case studies and tool kits on the members section of the website as they are available. In general Wendy coordinates our strategic operations and ensures we have continuity and representation on a number of pieces of work within BAA’s portfolio. I look forward to a year where this work can become much more visible to you as members.
September is also the board meeting where we sign off the final accounts for the previous year and the Annual report for members in time for the AGM at conference. The AGM is very much a business meeting, so we do put a call out to members prior to the meeting for questions. It’s not the best forum to ask questions but if you have any for BAA Board we are all allocated a time at the conference to be available on the BAA stand for conversations. We are all contacted at any time during the year via the BAA admin email and we try to respond promptly if possible.
Our Vice President, Karen Shepherd has been starting to plan the next collaborative event with BSHAA and BSA which is likely to be in the first week of 2019 in the South of England. There are some issues with venues and we are hoping to work these through and announce the date and venue during October.
We have had a fantastic response to our call for more members on our Service Quality Team and as their work is so vital we have been happy to expand that team. They are currently working on an MRI referral guidance document, a vestibular direct referral guidance and a Datalogging ethics and law document, and those were just the documents mentioned this meeting. There is work happening to review the Direct Referral guidance in line with the NICE Guidance and we will publish updates as soon as the work is completed. You may want to join their session at conference too on IQIPs Tips from those that have been there.
All of our Regional groups now have a strong lead in place and will be scheduling their meetings soon. I hope to attend some of the meetings o please let Board know when they are happening.
Charlotte Rogers now has a team of 10 in the Early Professionals group and they are busy attending careers fairs, looking at mentoring and getting content ready for the new website. This is a new group and I’m excited to see them engage widely to promote Audiology Professionalism to our students and new graduates as they join our workforce. Charlotte has her own area on the BAA Stand at conference, next to a dwarf wall – come and visit her if you still feel like an Early Professional that wants support or to engage with others.
Conference was a big topic on our agenda at this meeting. It’s ready, the agenda is complete and online. We have a few changes this year one of which is Slido - BAA will be using Slido this year at conference during the sessions to allow delegates to submit their questions for the speakers via the Slido app. https://www.sli.do/. At each main session the moderator will give you a code to use to ask questions as we go through the presentations. We hope it will encourage more people to interact with the presentations this year.
As we announced in Horizons we have appointed a web designer called SpinDogs. This team are busy getting the website ready for launch at conference and a significant amount of time has been spent working with them over the last few weeks to prioritise and design our site.
We will have more visual elements, audio and visual clips to share and more in the Members Only section of the website. We are hoping it is possible for members to comment on news articles so that you can interact more with topics. You will all be asked to reset your passwords when we go live, I like this idea as I know many of you don’t remember your log ins so a chance for a fresh start on that is coming your way in November.
One thing you might like if you got to here on my blog is the new website will have chapters for skipping to the bit of a page you are interested in.
All the presentations from the Policy Day at Aston University on 18th September are available to download in the members section of the website.
I’d like to thank over 65 delegates for attending and all the speakers, I hope you all found something useful in the day and I know you all networked well.
UK Hearing Conservation Association
The inaugural meeting of this group was hosted by me as BAA President but organised by a Health and Safety consultant, Clare Forshaw. The meeting attracted 25 very varied professionals from academia, charities, industry, government departments and professional bodies from all sorts of sectors. What was interesting to me was the variety of people in the room but also the language they used was different to audiology. They talk in percentage daily dose of noise rather than dB levels but some of their research, information and advice is fantastic.
The formation of this group comes from work started on the Action Plan on Hearing loss task and finish group and as the financial support for these Task and Finish groups is reduced this group could be independent and a fantastic knowledge source for the future.
Watch this space for more on this group as it develops. We might already have a couple of suggested speakers for events from the meeting.
I hope this has been a useful update.
I’d like to look forward to this week. Myself and our Consultant CEO will be attending The Healthcare Science Leaders’ Summit organised by the CSO Office on Thursday 4th October.
Healthcare Science Leaders Summit this week
As many of you will be aware, it was announced earlier this year that the time was right to develop a 2024 Healthcare Science Strategy for England this meeting is part of their engagement to shape the Strategy going forwards.
A cross system Healthcare Science Strategic Advisory Board has also recently been established. The Board had its first meeting on 31 July and has agreed to oversee the development and implementation of the Strategy. The Board will play a crucial role in identifying those system wide measures that are needed in order to support the development of healthcare science including (but not limited to): advising and making recommendations on how the profession will drive technological developments, plans for the implications of these changes for healthcare science service models and identifying the consequences of new technology for the selection, curricula, education and training and leadership development of current and future healthcare scientists.
Although we will be representing BAA at this meeting and I’m happy to hear from anyone before we go there are also ways anyone can get involved in this discussion directly.
- Take part in the CSO Tweet chats starting on 19 September
- Simply follow @WeHCScientists on Twitter to find out more.
- Attend the CSO webinar in October (date tbc) – they plan to test out some of their initial thinking and to get your input. This will be advertised via @WeHCScientists and BAA will try to let members know the date for this.
President's Blog 17th September 2018
After holidays the return to work has started. There is a BAA Board Meeting today, 17th September and the BAA Staying Ahead Policy Day for Audiology Professionals tomorrow, 18th September. I will be updating my blog after these two meetings so please check back on Thursday for updates.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com