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BAA President 2016-2017

Michelle Booth


President's Blog

Presidential Blog - 17th April 2017

Well, another 4 weeks have passed since my last blog and I am now 5 months into my Presidency. I am enjoying every minute of it, but it is a busy job and, at times, I am finding it difficult to strike that healthy work-life balance. As I write this, I have just enjoyed a week at home, although rest and relaxation has not always been high on the agenda. I have managed to fit in some lovely walks with my dog, Snoop, some gardening and some decorating, as well as some preparation for our Board meeting on the 24th April. I hope you have all had a lovely Easter weekend and enjoyed some well- deserved rest and relaxation. 

External meetings have been relatively scarce this month with the Easter break, although I have managed to catch up with Laura Turton, Operations Manager for the BSA. One of the aims of the BAA this year is to look at some joint working with other associations and Laura and I are continuing to look at ways that this might happen between BSA and BAA. I also attended a meeting of the Action Plan on Hearing Loss (Early Diagnosis) Task and Finish Group, chaired by Paul Breckell. The group have been reviewing a paper entitled “Increasing early diagnosis of hearing loss in adults: Review and Recommendations for future work”. It is hoped that this will be published as a detailed work plan for the Action Plan on Hearing Loss. I will keep you updated on its progress. 

I have also been in regular contact with Gemma Twitchen from AoHL, who has been keeping a close eye on the activity around the consultations by both Milton Keynes and Enfield CCG’s on the provision of hearing aid services. The Enfield consultation has now been extended to the 30th April. BAA will of course keep you up to date with any further news around the activities of CCG’s around the country. 

I have spent some time this month working remotely with Wendy Farrington Chadd, our Consultant CEO looking at our BAA Board Job descriptions, policies and the BAA Constitution, all of which are due an update. Wendy has also worked with Darren Cordon, our Board Director for Pub and Comms, on the content for our proposed membership survey, which is ready in draft format and will go to our Board meeting next week for approval. Watch out for it dropping into your inbox and it would be great if you could take a few minutes of your time to complete it. We are a membership organisation and take very seriously the thoughts and opinions of our members. Your suggestions and thoughts will be taken into consideration when planning the future activity of BAA and its teams and committees. Karen Shepherd, our Board Director for CPD and Regional Groups has also been busy collecting information from our regional representatives and we will be discussing at our Board meeting next week, Karen’s plan to improve regional activity to suit our membership.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that Matthew Murray has resigned from his position as treasurer and secretary to BAA this week. Matt has said that, ‘In light of the changing requirements going forward for the role of treasurer I have decided to step down from this position. I have fully enjoyed my time on the Board of BAA and will continue to play an active role as a member.’

On behalf of the BAA, I thank Matt for his contribution over the past few years and wish him well for the future. Jagjit Sethi, our Immediate Past President and also past Treasurer will take on some of the duties of the treasurer in the short term working closely with Fitwise, myself and Wendy, our CEO. Once we have finalised the new job descriptions for Board members including Treasurer, we will be looking to recruit a new Board director to take up the role of Treasurer from November 2017.

I’ll say goodbye for now, but look forward to updating you again in a couple of weeks. However, as always if you have anything you want to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me via our Fitwise admin on baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog – 19th March 2017

Another 2 weeks have passed by and it’s a busy old time in the life of the BAA President.

As my last blog was released I was poised to attend the CSO Conference at the Crick Institute in London. What a great event bringing together Healthcare Scientists from various professions to share the innovative work that is going on in the world of Healthcare Science. Both Sue Hill, Chief Scientific Officer, and Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England addressed the Conference and stressed the importance of collaboration within Healthcare Science. We are a key workforce within the NHS and yet are often poorly represented in NHS Trusts. There was a call for us all to make ourselves known to the Lead Healthcare Scientists within our Trusts and join the network to champion the role of Healthcare Science going forward. I call upon you, my Audiology friends and colleagues, who work within the NHS, to contact the Medical Director at your Trust to find out who your Lead Healthcare Scientist is, if indeed you have one!

Wendy Farrington-Chadd, our consultant CEO and I have finally pulled together the Annual and 5 Year Plan for BAA and shared it with the Past Presidents and Heads of Service (England) earlier this week. This was also the first opportunity that Wendy has had to meet with members directly and early feedback was good. Wendy has already started to collate potential questions for a membership survey and is working with Darren Cordon, our Pub and Comms Lead to hopefully get this out to membership in the next few months. She is also keen to look at data collected from our workforce survey conducted in September last year. Wendy has a particular interest in workforce planning and hopes to enable BAA to develop a strategy to address the workforce issues we are experiencing within Audiology.

You will have probably seen that 2 more CCGs have voiced potential plans to ration adult hearing aid services and both Milton Keynes and Enfield have consultations out for cuts to hearing aid provision to those with mild hearing loss, alongside plans to suggest unilateral fittings as a routine. I have spoken directly with the Milton Keynes CCG to express concerns on behalf of the profession and plan to contact Enfield next week. I have also spoken personally to the heads of service in both these areas to provide support and advice as necessary. I’m sure that this will not be last we hear of such cuts as CCGs attempt to save money.

I have also just completed an article for the Spring edition of the BAA magazine presenting the Annual Plan and 5 Year Strategic Plan for BAA. This magazine will soon be dropping through your letterboxes and again contains some great content. Thank you to all who contribute to its production.

By the time my next blog is due, BAA Conference 2017 will have been launched. Claire Benton and the Conference planning team have been working hard to pull together another fantastic event and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Over the coming months, I look forward to updating you on the fantastic programme and plans for the party of the year, the BAA Gala Dinner. I have a particular reason to be excited about the Gala Dinner as a few weeks before Conference, I will be celebrating a ‘special’ birthday and hope it will be a birthday party to remember. I look forward to seeing many of you there. It’s a party not to be missed!!

 Well on that exciting note, I’ll say goodbye for now, but look forward to updating you again in a couple of weeks. However, as always if you have anything you want to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me via our Fitwise admin on baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 5th March 2017

It’s been 4 weeks since my last blog – the time just seems to fly by!

Lots of work is going on behind the scenes in BAA with Conference planning going well for Bournemouth 2017. Claire Benton and Sue Falkingham joined Phyllis, our Events Manager from Fitwise and some of our key sponsors on a site visit to Liverpool last week, which is our proposed venue for 2018.

Whilst Claire and Sue enjoyed Liverpool, I joined Wendy, our Consultant CEO and other Board members at the Action Plan on Hearing Loss Event in London, This event was held on World Hearing Day and gave attendees an overview of the work that is currently being undertaken by the Task and Finish Groups looking at the outputs of the Action Plan. BAA is one of the stakeholders with a place on each of these groups working hard to put some of the planned outcomes of the Action Plan into reality. It was an opportunity for Wendy to meet some key people in the Audiology world and an opportunity for me to catch up with lots of familiar faces who have inspired me on my journey to this point. I am still incredibly proud to represent my profession in the role of President and assure you all that I am working hard to do that in as many forums as I can. It is often hard work to juggle my presidential role, my clinical role and my home life and I’m not sure my work/life balance is too good at present, but I am enjoying every minute of it!

Wendy and I have also being working hard to finalise the Annual and 5 Year Plan for BAA. It is now almost ready to be shared and we will be presenting it to our Past President’s Group at the next meeting on the 14th March and then to our Heads of Service in England at the meeting on the 15th March. I will be writing an article for the next magazine presenting the plans and the streams of work BAA Board are working on this year. We are also planning a membership survey which should hopefully be with you in early May. We would be really grateful if you could take the time to fill it in as we value the views of you our members and want to be sure that we, the BAA Board, are representing you as you would want us to.

Unfortunately, I am currently involved in talks with the CCG in Milton Keynes as they propose cuts to the adult hearing aid service including cuts to the provision of aids for those with mild hearing loss and a proposal to provide monaural rather than binaural aids. BAA are providing support to the head of service in Milton Keynes and I hope we can provide a strong case for the CCG to rethink their proposals. The consultation is open until the end of March so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

As you read this blog, I will be attending the CSO Conference at the Crick Institute in London, celebrating the work of the Healthcare Science profession and networking with other healthcare scientists from around the country.

Well, I’m sure that’s enough from me, but as always if you have anything you want to discuss with me, please feel free to contact me via our Fitwise admin on baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 5th February 2017

Another hectic couple of weeks trying to juggle home, family, work and BAA commitments! I am often rather disgruntled to hear people criticising what the BAA does (or doesn’t do) for them. The BAA President, Board members and its many committee members are volunteers and work on behalf of BAA in their own time. Despite all the warnings from previous Presidents on the time commitment involved in the presidential year, I have been somewhat overwhelmed by the level of time involved. My day job as Clinical Lead for Adult Audiology at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a full time role, which I work over 4 long days, previously giving me Mondays as a rota day off. In the past I have used this as a ‘BAA’ day and a day to work on my MSc studies. I am currently a student on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme studying for a MSc in Healthcare Leadership. Unfortunately, I have had to take a leave of absence from my studies, as I quickly realised that I could not give the level of commitment needed to do all my roles well. I will recommence my studies in January 2018. I have also realised that the BAA Presidential role, if done with the passion and enthusiasm it deserves, does not equate to one day a week. It is hard work, but well worth it. I am enjoying every minute!

We held the first BAA Board meeting of 2017 on the 23rd January, moving to Birmingham to try and reduce travel costs. It is interesting how the geographical spread of Board members changes over the years. We now have a much more ‘northern’ Board than when I first joined 5 years ago!

Discussions at Board took place around workforce concerns following the recent workforce survey sent out to Heads of Service in September 2016. Helen Martin is kindly reviewing the data obtained and there will be an update at the HoS meeting in March.

Ahead of the budget planning meeting on the 25th January, Matt Murray presented his treasurer’s report, which unfortunately does not, at present, read well. In these days of financial uncertainty, however, it is not surprising to read that BAA is also seeing financial pressures have their effects. Conference 2016 in Glasgow did not do as well financially as we had hoped and this was mainly due to delegate numbers and sponsorship. Brexit is likely to have an impact on our sponsors and what they have to spend is likely to be less. The number of stall sales to smaller exhibitors was down, but this is comparable to the last time we held our Conference in Scotland. BAA Board take our annual conference very seriously and appreciate it is a major benefit to our membership, however, going forward we will have to consider locations very closely and go with only those that work financially. We are taking time to forward plan and risk assess in order to make the BAA Conference financially viable in the future. This might mean that we only have a few locations to choose from, as some locations are already being found to be out of our budget. This year we return to Bournemouth, as we managed to secure a good deal by agreeing 2014 and 2017 at the same time. This may be the way it works in future. Our Fitwise events manager, Phyllis and conference lead, Claire Benton have worked extremely hard over the last few weeks to secure a deal on hotel accommodation for Board, speakers and sponsors. They have used their experience to negotiate the best deal, using the size of our Conference as a bargaining tool. Phyllis, who has a vast amount of experience in event planning, did a lot of research finding somewhere where we can all fit in, looking at all costs and independent hotels versus several chains. In these times of financial uncertainty, I can assure you that BAA Board are looking at all costs before making our decisions and have the best interests of the BAA and our membership at heart when making these decisions. We are passionate about the BAA Conference and want to continue to provide a top quality event for our members, but it has to be financially viable, hence the need to look at all options in detail.

The budget meeting in Scotland on the 25th January was a day of financial forecasting and planning. BAA Board are currently trying to plan our activity in advance so that we can predict our expenditure more accurately. Our Board and committees are making good use of technology to reduce the need for travel to meetings, which can be a major cost. Booking travel in advance for meetings is also being actioned to enable good deals are obtained where possible. We are also looking at paperless systems to reduce postage and printing costs where possible.

I am playing my part in this cost reduction initiative and where possible, when attending meetings in London, I try to arrange a later start and earlier finish to avoid peak travel costs. This can have a significant effect reducing my daily travel costs to London by almost £100 per journey. Given that I attend meetings in London at least twice a month on average, over my presidential year this will result in significant savings.

This week sees a trip to London on Tuesday for the RCCP Professional Body Chairs meeting and an update on the negotiations between RCCP and AHCS regarding the future regulatory landscape for Clinical Physiologists. I will of course keep you updated.

If anyone would like to further discuss any of the above issues, please contact me on baa@fitwise.co.uk and I will be happy to talk to you. 

Presidential Blog - 22nd January 2017

Wow, what a busy couple of weeks since my last blog.

Just before Christmas, BAA was approached by Dr Gillian Manning, a Clinical Education Consultant, who as lead for curricula development within the MSC programme has previously worked with us to develop the Audiology specialist content  of the Level 2 Diploma in Healthcare Science, the Practitioner and Scientist Training curricula and the HSST. She is now working on the development of the Level 4 Diploma in Healthcare Science that will underpin the education and training of Healthcare Science Associates, including Apprentices and has asked BAA to work with her again to agree the modules needed and generate the content for each module. Board members Christine DePlacido, Lizanne Steenkamp, Rosemary Monk and myself are currently working with Gillian to ensure the Audiology content supports the role of the Healthcare Science Associate. This work will provide the underpinning qualification which hopefully be launched in Autumn 2017.

January is a busy month for those of us working in acute NHS Trusts and this year has been particularly difficult. There is much in the media about the NHS crisis. This crisis is not confined to the emergency departments and BAA were contacted early this month by Brendan Cooper, President of the Academy of Healthcare Science, who felt that it was important for Healthcare Scientists to have their say using the One Voice campaign. I’m sure you will all agree that Audiology is currently being affected by ongoing staff shortages, budget cuts, increasing workload and waiting time pressures. There is some concern that Audiology is looking at a potential crisis and the results of a recent survey sent out to Heads of Service on behalf of BAA appear to confirm this. Helen Martin is kindly reviewing some of the data received and although the survey initiated a poor response, probably due to its length and detail required, which takes time that, at present, heads of service can ill afford, there is an indication that there is a workforce crisis looming in Audiology. We all know that funding pressures are beginning to impact on the training of audiologists. Unfortunately, this is not being escalated efficiently to HEE from HCS leads or heads of service. I am currently collating a response to Brendan’s request on behalf of BAA, which will form part of the One Voice response directed to Health Ministers, NHS organisations, the Media and will also appear on Academy social media and Websites.

Rather timely then that this week I attended the CSO Healthcare Science Strategy meeting in London led by Sue Hill and Fiona Carragher. Workforce planning, training and funding were key features of the discussion. There are 90 Lead Healthcare Scientists in NHS Trusts around the country, but concerns were raised that networking between these leads is not as effective as it could be. Local and regional networks are required in order for us to get the traction and leverage we need to highlight the current difficulties that our profession is facing. BAA will be identifying who the HCS leads are around the country and encouraging our heads of service to network with them. Any members who already have good HCS networks at their Trust are encouraged to get in touch with BAA via baa@fitwise.co.uk to share any good practice.

On a less gloomy note I recently met with BSA’s operations manager Laura Turton to discuss potential collaborations and the output from this meeting will be discussed at BAA Board meeting tomorrow. I also have a meeting with BSHAA’s new President, Sarah Vokes on the 1st February to discuss potential collaborations with BSHAA too. It is important that in these challenging times for our profession, we all work together to ensure a united voice is heard

If anyone would like to further discuss any of the above issues, please contact me on baa@fitwise.co.uk and I will be happy to talk to you. 

Presidential Blog - 9th January 2017

Well, it’s a month since my last blog. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and managed some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Myself and the rest of the BAA Board have taken the opportunity to chill out and spend some much needed time with our friends and family. I would like to that this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year, let’s hope it’s a good one for the audiology profession. I would also, on behalf of the BAA Board, like to congratulate Gemma Leadbeater and her partner Liam on the birth of their daughter Mia Eve, who arrived late, but safely on Christmas Eve. Gemma was Board representative for Scotland until November this year. We will miss her on Board, but I’m sure she has her hands full with an equally rewarding role. Congratulations Gemma.

January is usually a miserable month and seems to last forever, I’m hoping my full diary is going to keep it moving along nicely – only 23 days to go!!  

Since my last blog, I haven’t really attended any meetings, but the work of the BAA still goes on in the background. I have been reviewing the output from our Strategy Day on the 5th December 2016 and look forward to sharing our plans for the year ahead after everything has been confirmed at our Board meeting on the 23rd January 2017. Today, I will be meeting with Wendy Farrington Chadd, our new CEO to discuss how we will work together to take BAA forward and support our membership in the coming year. If you would like to know more about Wendy, please take a look on the BAA website as she has written a short biography introducing herself to members.

On the 16th January, I am looking forward to meeting up with Laura Turton, Operations Manager for the BSA. It is one of the aims of BAA in 2017 to work closely with both BSA and BSHAA to ensure a united voice for the Audiology profession as a whole.

On the 18th January, I take my first trip to London of 2017 to attend the CSO Healthcare Science Strategy meeting chaired by Professor Sue Hill. Issues such as workforce development, clinical leadership and quality improvement will be discussed by healthcare scientists from many disciplines.

The 23rd January sees the first BAA Board meeting of 2017 in Birmingham. In order to try and reduce travel costs, given that many of our Board members are no longer southern based, we have moved our meetings from London. One of the items on the agenda to discuss are the results of the recent workforce planning survey performed by Helen Martin and Christine DePlacido on behalf of BAA. We thank Helen and Chris for their work on this much needed piece of work and look forward to sharing the results and any BAA actions in the next few months. The following day I make my way up to Scotland, weather permitting, for a meeting on the 25th January with Matt Murray, treasurer of BAA and the Fitwise team for budget setting.

January ends with the Alliance Strategy meeting and another trip to London to discuss strategy for the year ahead.

Well, a busy month ahead and I look forward to updating you all in my next blog. If you have any questions or queries about any aspect of work currently being undertaken by BAA Board and its committees, please contact us on baa@fitwise.co.uk and we will be happy to discuss with you.

Presidential Blog - 12th December 2016

Well, I am now entering my 5th week as BAA President and the pace of work since my first blog 3 weeks ago has definitely quickened. My diary for January 2017 is already full and I have a stream of emails from people who want to meet up – since when did I become Mrs Popular :)

Since my last blog, I have attended the Early Diagnosis Task and Finish Group, one of the groups set up by NHS England, to take forward the Action Plan on Hearing Loss, published in 2015. Part of the remit of this group is to produce a scoping document on what might be a plan for opportunistic screening and this is a work in progress.

On 5th December, I met with BAA Board members, our new consultant CEO and members of the Fitwise Management team to plan our strategy for 2017 and beyond. We also welcomed new Board members to the team. Darren Cordon will become our new Pub, Comms, Website and IT lead. He will be supported by Sue Falkingham as she steps up into the role of Vice President. We said goodbye to Gemma Leadbeater as she stepped down from the Scottish rep role to take on a much more challenging role as a mum. We thank Gemma for her contributions and wish her well in her new role! Gordon McHardy returns to Board as Scottish rep and I look forward to joining him and other Scottish leads at their Heads of Service meeting in February 2017. It is also with regret that we announce that there will no longer be a BAA student committee. Sarah Holliday has worked tirelessly over the past few years as BAA Student rep, but due to work and personal commitments, she stood down in November and with no one to take on her role, the committee has collapsed. We thank Sarah for her hard work over the past few years and wish her well in the future.  With this in mind, Neil Summerfield will step into a new role on Board as Student Liaison Lead. This is a work in progress, but Neil’s remit will ultimately be to give the BAA student population a voice and a point of contact. A job description for this role is currently being written. We also sadly say goodbye to Harriet Crook, who has worked tirelessly as one of our Board Leads for Education over the last few years. Unfortunately, due to work and family commitments, Harriet is no longer able to commit to the role of Board Lead, but will continue to support the BAA. We thank Harriet for all her hard work and look forward to her continued support in the field of Education.

 Keep an eye on the website and social media as we will publish our strategy for 2016 and all Board roles once they are all finalised. I am so excited to work with this amazing group of people who have decided yet again to give their time freely for the good of the profession and the BAA membership.

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very healthy, happy and prosperous 2017. I do hope you all manage to enjoy a little rest and relaxation over the holiday period, before we meet the challenges that 2017 will inevitably bring to the world of Audiology.

Presidential Blog - 21st November 2016

It gives me great pleasure to introduce myself as the new President of the BAA. For those of you who don’t know me, I am Clinical Lead for Adult Audiology at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust in North Nottinghamshire. I have been an audiologist for almost 30 years and remain passionate about my profession. My specialist area of interest is tinnitus and I was lucky enough to work with the NHS Improvement team in 2009- 2011 piloting one of the first Direct Access tinnitus clinics. It was during this project that I met some inspirational people who would go on to be the most influential people in my career, convincing me to volunteer for BAA Board. You know who you are!! And the rest they say is history. 5 years later here I am starting my presidential year and what an honour that is.

My first week has been relatively quiet, but I suspect this is the calm before the storm. On Wednesday, I attended the AHCS and RCCP Joint Board meeting, considering the areas of mutual interest where partnership could provide benefits. It was a productive day of discussion and I came away with much food for thought. It was also good to catch up with past BAA Board colleagues, Will Brassington and Jonathan Parsons. Although the rest of the week has been meeting free, the BAA work doesn’t stop.

In 2 weeks, the BAA Board and our new CEO will meet in Manchester for our Strategy Day. This is when we will prepare our annual plan and each of the Board leads will take back streams of work for the coming year to their committees. I am so looking forward to working with this fabulous group of people who give their time freely for the good of their profession and the BAA membership.

Watch this space for regular updates on my presidential journey. If you want to contact me please email admin@baaudiology.org and I will be happy to answer any questions/queries.

About Michelle

Current Occupational Role: Clinical Lead - Adult Audiology at Kings Mill Hospital in North Nottinghamshire. 

Areas of Specialist interest: Tinnitus Rehabilitation. 

Michelle has worked in Audiology since 1987, training as the original MPPM student inChesterfield. She has worked in various other departments, but has been a member of the team at Kings Mill since 1993. Michelle obtained her BSc from Leeds University in 2002, having studied on a part-time basis for 4 years. Michelle's specialist area of interest is tinnitus and she worked with the NHS Improvement team in 2009 to develop and implement a direct access service for patients with tinnitus. The clinic has been a great success and Michelle has presented at many meetings and Conferences about the clinic. She has also offered help and advice to other departments wanting to set up a similar service. Michelle is passionate about her profession and looks forward to serving the BAA membership well over the next few years.


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