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BAA President 2016-2017

Michelle Booth

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President's Blog

 

Presidential Blog – 15th October 2017

It’s now only 4 weeks to the BAA Conference 2017 in Bournemouth which stirs up both feelings of happiness and sadness for me. I always look forward to BAA Conference, but will be very proud to attend this year as your President and open the Conference. The sadness comes from the fact that I have had a fantastic year and it will come to an end as I pass on the presidential baton to Sue Falkingham at the end of Conference. I look forward to celebrating my fantastic year with you all and some of those wonderful people who have made it all possible. I encourage anyone attending Conference to come along to the BAA AGM on Thursday afternoon, where you will hear about the activities of the BAA during my presidential year and meet the new members of the Board who will continue the good work into 2018. The BAA Annual General Meeting papers will be released in full on the 18th October. All members will receive an email with links and we would be grateful if you could take the time to view this information.

The past few weeks have been busy for me with pre-Conference preparations, but one highlight was the meeting I had last week with Dr Michelle Foster, a clinical scientist in Sheffield. Michelle has been awarded one of only 4 WISE fellowships by the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). These fellowships are a unique opportunity for mid-career female healthcare scientists to gain invaluable leadership experience. Michelle is a woman after my own heart, passionate about Audiology and keen to make a difference. We chatted about our mutual desire to inspire the next generation of healthcare scientists and grow the Audiology leaders of the future. I had never met Michelle before, but we managed to spend a very enjoyable 3 hours chatting about our past careers and our hopes for the future of the Audiology profession. I am excited by the prospect of working with Michelle over the coming year on behalf of BAA to support her work as part of the WISE fellowship. As an extension of this, I will also be working closely with the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer at NHS England to look at how we can develop future leadership opportunities. I have a call with them on the 18th October to discuss how we might take this forward. Leadership is a particular passion of mine and, in my role as Immediate Past President, I will be looking at workforce and leadership opportunities in Audiology and how BAA might address some of the issues surrounding both. This will fit in nicely with my studies on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme in association with the NHS Leadership Academy and Birmingham University. I have taken a break from my studies during my presidential year, but will resume my studies in January 2018.

As always, I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. If you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

I look forward to speaking to you all again on 29th October in my penultimate blog.

 

Presidential Blog - 1st October 2017

The weeks are fast creeping on and I only have just over 6 weeks of my presidency left. I really don’t know whether to laugh or cry! As with any job, there have been incredible highs, but equally incredible lows. Overall, it has been an amazing experience and I thank you all for trusting me to represent you in this way. I do hope I have done you proud.

The past few weeks have been busy. I have written my final President’s words for the BAA magazine, due out on the 27th October, met with Sue Falkingham to discuss the coming year’s activities for BAA Board, taken part in an interview for the Audio Infos magazine about my presidential year and collated the first draft of the BAA Annual Report. This is a document which is presented to members at the AGM at Conference in November. The document gives an overview of the work achieved by myself, BAA Board and its committees/teams over the past year. I also chaired my penultimate BAA Board meeting on the 18th September which had a jam packed agenda including discussion around the work being done by the medicine prescribing group for HCPC Healthcare Clinical Scientists to prescribe under a patient group directive. BAA is represented by Jagjit Sethi and John Day on this piece of work and we will keep you informed as this work progresses.

You will be pleased to hear that BAA Board made the decision at the Board meeting to freeze its membership fees for 2017/18. This means that there has not been an increase in fees for over 7 years, however, it was decided that this is unlikely to be sustainable in the coming years. We also discussed changes to the BAA Constitution which Wendy Farrington Chadd has been working on with input from both myself and Past President, Adam Beckman. These proposed changes will be presented to members at our AGM in November for consideration. We were also joined at our Board meeting by RCCP Chief Executive, Paul Sharpe. Paul is keen to meet with all Professional Bodies who interact with the RCCP to gain a greater understanding about who they are, what they do and why registration is important to them. Paul updated Board surrounding current changes that are happening within the RCCP at the moment.

After a push by the BAA to encourage nominations for Board, I am delighted to announce that we had 8 nominations. Due to various changes on the current Board, we do have 8 vacant positions and therefore no membership vote will be required. The new BAA Board will be introduced at the AGM in November and I look forward to working with them all in the coming year.

As I write my blog today, I am preparing for a long drive up to Scotland for a meeting at Fitwise, our management company, tomorrow. I will be joined by Sue Falkingham and Wendy Farrington Chadd. Discussions will take place around the BAA Annual Report, the AGM proceedings and last minute preparations for Conference. We will meet with various teams at Fitwise to ensure all preparations for Conference are on track. It’s hard to believe that Conference is just over 6 weeks away. I hope to see many of you there. It does mean that I have only 3 blogs left and I look forward to speaking to you all again on the 15th October.

As always, I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. If you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk 

Presidential Blog - 17th September 2017

Back to business with a bang! The summer leave is a distant memory and both the day job and BAA are busy. I attended the British Tinnitus Association (BTA) Conference in Sheffield on the 7th September. I was there to man the BAA stand alongside my fellow Board director, Claire Benton. It was great to catch up with colleagues in the world of tinnitus and many familiar faces visited the BAA stand during the breaks. I was delighted to catch up with Cherilee Rutherford, who is now an audiologist with the Ida Institute and was speaking on the programme. Many of you will know that Cherilee was one of the Scientific Programme Directors for the BAA, alongside Priya Carling, for a few years and I had the pleasure of working with them both during my time as Board Director for Conference. One of the things I love about my BAA role is the opportunity it gives me to meet and work with inspirational people within our profession who share my passion for Audiology. Whilst at the BTA Conference, I had the pleasure of being invited to sit on the ‘expert panel’ in the Q & A session on the programme. This session was chaired by one of my tinnitus ‘heroes’, Professor David Baguley and I was honoured to sit alongside Lawrence McKenna, Lucy Handscomb and Don McFerran. During my early years in Audiology, these people were inspirational figures in the tinnitus field and I did feel privileged to sit alongside them as an ‘expert’ on the panel. It was a great session with lots of interesting questions and answers. Feedback after the session was positive. Despite my busy role with the BAA, I still maintain my clinical practice and it was great to share some of my clinical experiences with the delegates.

 

On the 11th September, I took the BAA stand to the STP Induction event at Aston Villa football ground. My partner in crime this time was our CEO, Wendy Farrington Chadd. The venue brought back some happy childhood memories for me, as my brother is an Aston Villa fan and we often went to see them play with a family friend. The event was the induction for the 7th cohort of STP trainees, who will hopefully be the HCS workforce of the future. Berne Ferry, Head of the National School for Healthcare Science (NSHCS) welcomed the trainees and stressed their importance in the workforce of the NHS. There are 60,000 Healthcare Scientists in the NHS, which equates to 6% of the workforce. We play an important role in patient and clinical outcomes, multi-professional working and innovation and translational research. Many of the STP trainees taking up their places in Audiology departments across the country came to say hello at the stand. Both myself and Wendy were impressed with the drive and enthusiasm of the trainees and particularly their willingness to engage with their professional body. Several were already members and others were keen to find out how they could get involved.

 

This week has also seen me write the introduction for the BAA Conference Programme, vote for several of the awards being presented at Conference and start to pull together information for the BAA Annual Report, which is a summary of the BAA’s activities over the past year. We also have our BAA Board meeting on the 18th September and I have been pulling together the jam packed agenda. This is my penultimate Board meeting before I hand over the Presidential baton to Sue Falkingham and there is still lots of things I want to finalise before I stand down into my Past President role. This week I will also write my final ‘President’s Words’ for the Autumn BAA magazine and on the 25th September, I will meet with incoming President, Sue Falkingham to look and roles and responsibilities of Board members in the coming year. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that there is still a little time to put yourself forward for a position on BAA Board as nominations do not close until Thursday 21st September. We have several vacancies on Board this year. We need someone to fill the role of Treasurer and we are keen to find the right person for this position. Keeping a check on BAA finances is a key role on Board and we need someone with specific qualities and expertise. A job description for this important role can be found on the BAA website. The successful candidate will be well supported by the finance team at our management company, Fitwise and will work closely with the President and Chief Executive. We also require nominations from those of you with an interest in Service Quality and Education. These areas have a large portfolio of work and we are keen to recruit members with key experience in these areas. Over the past few years, our student membership has dwindled and last year BAA were forced to lose our Student representative role on Board due to lack of interest from the student membership. We are therefore also keen to see nominations from those of you with an interest in the future workforce of our profession, with ideas on how we can engage with the student population more effectively and get them involved in the work of the BAA at an early stage in their Audiology careers. If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

 

As always, I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. If you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

 

Presidential Blog - 3rd September 2017

Well, my 2 weeks of leave have almost come to an end and what a lovely, relaxing break it has been. It’s probably a good thing too, as BAA Conference 2017 is only 10 weeks away and my workload is likely to considerably increase during the run up to Conference. September is already looking busy with the BTA Conference next week, STP 2017 the week after and my penultimate Board meeting as President on the 18th. I also have deadlines approaching for the BAA Annual report, the introduction for the BAA Conference programme and my final President’s words for the BAA magazine.

There is also preparation required for Board roles next year and I will be meeting with Sue Falkingham, our incoming President on the 25th September to discuss this. If you are thinking of getting involved with BAA in some way, you still have time to put yourself forward for a position on BAA Board as nominations do not close until Thursday 21st September. We have several vacancies on Board this year. We need someone to fill the role of Treasurer and we are keen to find the right person for this position. Keeping a check on BAA finances is a key role on Board and we need someone with specific qualities and expertise. A job description for this important role can be found on the BAA website. The successful candidate will be well supported by the finance team at our management company, Fitwise and will work closely with the President and Chief Executive. We also require nominations from those of you with an interest in Service Quality and Education. These areas have a large portfolio of work and we are keen to recruit members with key experience in these areas. Over the past few years, our student membership has dwindled and last year BAA were forced to lose our Student representative role on Board due to lack of interest from the student membership. We are therefore also keen to see nominations from those of you with an interest in the future workforce of our profession, with ideas on how we can engage with the student population more effectively and get them involved in the work of the BAA at an early stage in their Audiology careers. BAA Board members are expected to attend 4 Board meetings throughout the year in January, April, July and September. There is a further meeting at the BAA Conference in November and then a Strategy meeting shortly after Conference where the newly formed Board members plan their work for the coming year. The 4 Board meetings are currently held in Birmingham, but the venue is regularly reviewed taking into account the geographical location of our Board members. Expenses are paid for all travel undertaken on behalf of BAA. From a personal perspective, I have enjoyed my time on Board and have learnt a lot from working in various roles. I have met and worked with some great people both in the field of Audiology and beyond and have gained skills and experience that are transferable into my day job. I’m sure anyone who knows me will agree that I have also grown personally during my time on Board. If someone had said to me that I would be President of the BAA and would stand in front of hundreds of people at a Conference and speak, I would have thought they were having a laugh, but I am and I do and strangely enjoy every minute of it! I am immensely proud to be an audiologist and to be President of my professional body has been a great honour. There is no doubt that all BAA Board directors work incredibly hard and give much of their own time to do the job well, but I am confident that most would say it is enjoyable and rewarding. So, if you are passionate about your profession and want the chance to make a difference, please put yourself forward. More information can be found on the website, but if anyone wants to discuss any aspect of the BAA Board role in more detail or has any specific questions, please feel free to contact me via the BAA admin email. I am happy to chat to you individually and answer any questions you might have.

I am now off to enjoy my final day of leave and I look forward to updating you on my activities over the next few weeks in my next blog on the 18th September. Anyone attending the BTA Conference on Thursday 7th September in Sheffield, please come and say hello to myself and Claire Benton, as we man the BAA stand within the exhibition! As always, I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. If you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 20th August 2017

The holidays have arrived for me and I write this blog as a final bit of ‘work’ before I go off to enjoy 15 days of rest and relaxation. It does feel well deserved after a hectic few months and is much needed as the next few months will be a busy time as we approach Conference.

Speaking of Conference, I would urge you all to read the recent Conference blog written by Claire Benton, our Conference Lead. It is an excellent account of how conference is organised and hopefully highlights the hard work that BAA put in to ensure the BAA Conference is a great success year on year! For me, as President, it will be the culmination of an amazing year. I have enjoyed being BAA President and hopefully I have represented the BAA and the wider Audiology profession well. The time has passed so quickly and there is still so much that I want to do. I am hopeful that I will be able to continue some of the work streams in my role of Immediate past President.

Over the past few weeks, Wendy, our Consultant CEO, and I have continued to work on rewriting the job descriptions of our Board Directors and Wendy has also made a start on a review of our Constitution. We have also drafted and sent a letter to Professor Ian Cumming, Health Education England Chief Executive, requesting a meeting with him to discuss our concerns regarding the Audiology workforce, especially in the NHS. BAA have also registered as a stakeholder with NICE as work begins on updating/reviewing their guidelines on tinnitus. As this is my specialist area of interest, I look forward to being involved in this work.

In my first week back, I will be attending the British Tinnitus Association Conference in Sheffield on behalf of BAA. Come and say hello at the BAA stand if you are attending. I have also been asked by David Baguley to be part of the Q and A panel, which is due to take place during the afternoon programme. It will be an honour to take the stage alongside some of my ‘tinnitus heroes’!!

One of the things I have enjoyed most about being part of the BAA Board is the opportunity I have had to network with key people in the profession and be involved in ongoing work to improve Audiology services for our patients. At the end of the day, I am an audiologist who still loves the clinical aspect of my role, so being able to have a voice and the potential to make a difference is the key for me. I do hope I have done you all proud. It is hard work and frustrating at times as other things can get in the way. It is impossible to juggle everything and keep that work/life balance, so I am very lucky to have an amazingly supportive family, as they are probably the ones who have missed out the most! So for the next 2 weeks at least I am going to put my BAA work to one side and concentrate on my family, including my lovely dog, Snoop, who is looking forward to lots of long walks with his ‘mummy’!

I will be back on the 4th September refreshed and ready to work hard in the run up to Conference 2017 in Bournemouth.  As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 7th August 2017

 2 more weeks have passed and we are now only 15 weeks away from the BAA Conference in Bournemouth. Anyone following our social media will see the regular updates regarding the Conference. Abstract submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who has submitted an abstract this year and good luck to you all! Thankfully, I do not have any part to play in the choice of abstract winners, which I’m sure is not an easy task! There is still time to nominate colleagues for the Conference awards. This is a really enjoyable part of the Conference for me, seeing great Audiology professionals being recognised for the valuable work they do. Please don’t be shy, nominate someone you know for one of the awards. There is some wonderful work going on in Audiology departments around the country – let’s recognise and celebrate it! Visit the Conference section of the BAA website to submit your nomination.

 

Speaking of great Audiology professionals, many of you may have seen the post on our website regarding nominations to the BAA Board of Directors. We have several vacancies this year and, in particular, we are looking for someone to fill the role of Treasurer. Wendy, our CEO and I have recently worked on an updated job description for this role, as we appreciate the importance of this role on Board. The job description will shortly appear on our website so take a look and if you have a passion for finances, please consider offering your services to BAA. We will also be keen to see nominations for those of you who have an interest in Service Quality and the broad Education agenda. These are portfolios within BAA that are ever increasing in their workload and there is considerable ongoing work in these areas. We are also keen to see nominations from our Home Country colleagues. BAA aims to represent the profession across the whole of the UK and representation from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is vital on our Board to keep us informed on issues pertinent to all the individual countries as well as profession wide. Please look out for the request for nominations which will drop into your inbox this week. Reminders will feature in the Horizon over the coming weeks and we look forward to seeing nominations come in over the coming weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on Board working in several roles during my time, working with some great people and hopefully representing my profession well. My intention, when I joined BAA Board, was not to be President, but to contribute to the promotion of my profession and try to make a difference, so any of you who may think that you won’t put yourself forward because you don’t want to be President, it is not the natural progression. Many great people have served on Board, contributed a considerable amount, but never taken the President role. If anyone would like to discuss the role of Board Director before they put themselves forward, I am happy to speak to you. Please contact me via the BAA admin – baa@fitwise.co.uk.

 

August is generally a quiet time for meetings as people take their well -deserved breaks. However, for the BAA Board, the approach to Conference is a busy time as we prepare to pull together our Annual Report, reviewing both our Annual and 5 Year Strategy to see what we have managed to achieve in the past 12 months. I am lucky this year to have the fresh eyes of Wendy Farrington Chadd, our Consultant CEO to help and I have a catch up with her this week to plan our next actions.

 

Despite my forthcoming summer break, I will update you with BAA activity in 2 weeks, before I go off for some rest and relaxation by the sea with my family and my furry friend, Snoop.

 

I thank you again for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

 

Michelle Booth – President, BAA.

Presidential Blog - 23rd July 2017

 

Another 2 weeks has passed and the summer holidays are upon us. I hope many of you will have some rest and relaxation planned over the coming weeks. I have started my countdown with only 4 weeks left at work, before a welcome 2 week break. Time to spend with my family including my furry friend Snoop!! Members of Board will also take some time out to spend some valuable time with their families during the Summer break too.

 

Unfortunately, as I countdown to my holiday, it also means I am counting down to Conference 2017 and all the work that comes with that! Only 17 weeks to go and the deadlines are approaching fast. The deadline for submitting an abstract is tomorrow, so anyone hoping to present their work in Bournemouth needs to crack on! For those of you wanting to know more about the BAA Conference, Claire Benton has written an excellent overview in the BAA magazine which will have dropped through member’s letterboxes this week. Alternatively, visit our website or take a look at our Facebook page. You may have also seen the return of the Conference blog written by our Conference planning team. Visit https://baaconference2017.wordpress.com to read this year’s first blog post and keep your eyes peeled for the next.

 

Over the past 2 weeks, since my last blog, I have spent most of my time preparing for the BAA Board meeting which took place on Monday 17th July in Birmingham. The BAA Board meet in January, April, July and September and then have their final Board meeting at Conference in November. Their Strategy meeting takes place in November/December in order for the new BAA Board to plan their work streams for the new Presidential year. This is also when BAA Board members are allocated their area of responsibility. One of the areas of discussion at last week’s Board meeting was how we ensure that we get the right person in the right role on Board and how we ensure volunteers’ skills and experience are used to their full potential. This has been an area which myself and Wendy Farrington Chadd have had some prior discussion on and the consensus of opinion is that our Board Director job descriptions will be reviewed so that potential volunteers can match their skills and experience to the roles required. This is particularly important for such roles as the treasurer and secretary where key skills are required. You will see when the invitation for Board nominations comes out over the coming weeks that we will be more specific about the roles required and we are hopeful this will attract the right people to the Board and make us more efficient and effective. Myself and Wendy will be working on the job descriptions over the next few weeks.

 

The Board meeting had a jam packed agenda and we had some useful discussion on the results of both the workforce and membership survey recently undertaken. We are hoping to share the findings of our workforce survey with the NSHCS who are also looking at a wider HCS workforce survey. BAA will be sharing our concerns for the Audiology workforce on the national stage and will be keen to get our workforce shortage on the national workforce shortage list. Results of the membership survey will be shared over the coming months with some key themes discussed at Conference. We thank all our members for taking the time to give feedback as this gives the BAA Board a focus as to where our energies should be concentrated. In my last blog, I discussed the potential collaborative event which BAA, BSA and BSHAA have been discussing. After some discussion at Board, I am delighted to say that this event is now in the planning stages and further details should be available by September with confirmation of a venue and draft programme. The event is scheduled to take place in early 2018.

 

Discussion at Board also covered topics like the BAA website, which will be a focus over the next 12 months. We hope to make it more accessible and a richer source of information for both members and non-members. The BAA magazine will also undergo a revamp as we welcome a new editor. Contributions for the magazine have dwindled slightly recently, so please continue to send us your articles, reviews and research findings to share with our membership.

 

I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

 

Presidential Blog - 9th July 2017

 

Well, the countdown has started! Claire Benton, our Board Lead for Conference informed me this week that it is 19 weeks to BAA Conference in November. That obviously means that I have only 19 weeks left of my presidency!! The year has passed so quickly, in fact every week passes so quickly.

 

Since my last blog, I have been busy. On the 29th-30th June, I attended the BSA Conference as BAA representative. My main role was to man the stand in the exhibition, but it was a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and fellow exhibitors and make new contacts as well. Whilst there, I had the pleasure to meet up with Bill Davidson, Manager Director of Australian Hearing and his Chief Operating Officer, Gina Mavrias who were on a weeklong visit to the UK. The Australian government are currently reviewing the model of hearing care provision over there and Bill and Gina were keen to chat with someone with a national view of Audiology in the UK, but someone who could also chat about NHS hearing services locally and the changes that are taking place. Time was limited, but we had an interesting chat about how NHS hearing services are having to change in response to the national changes. Gina was interested to learn about our direct access tinnitus services, one stop balance clinics and particularly how some NHS services are setting up dispensing clinics to offer patients the ‘complete service’ in an attempt to future proof our NHS services. The BSA Conference programme offered something for everyone, whether you wanted basic science, research or more clinically focused sessions. It was a great opportunity to catch up with both BSA and BSHAA colleagues as we look at ways in which we can work collaboratively. You will have received a survey recently regarding a potential collaborative event involving input from all 3 organisations. I hope you were able to spare a few minutes to share your thoughts on this. A final decision on the potential event to be held early in 2018 will be made at the BAA Board meeting on the 19th July, but initial feedback is positive.    

 

After a brief stop off at home to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday, I was then off up to Scotland for a meeting with the Consultant Chief Executive of BAA, Wendy Farrington Chadd and our management company, Fitwise on the 3rd July. This was a meeting to look at where we are at with current areas of work, given the short time I have left in my presidential role. My aim was always to look back and see that I had achieved some change during my time as President and hopefully represented you the membership well. The Board meeting in July has a jam packed agenda including discussion around the results of both the workforce and membership surveys recently undertaken by BAA. We are hopeful that we will be in a position to share some of the output after the Board meeting and what the next steps will be for BAA. We will have several vacancies on Board in November and myself and Wendy are working on the Board Director job descriptions in order that potential nominees will have a clearer picture of what they are putting themselves forward for and the vacancies we require to fill. Watch out for the invitation for Board nominees which will appear at the end of this month.

 

On the 4th July, I attended the Healthcare Science Strategy meeting in London hosted by NHS England’s CSO’s team. Sue Hill opened the meeting with an overview of the CSO’s current work streams. She recommended that all Healthcare Scientists should read the recently published documents highlighting the Next steps for the Five Year Forward View and also advised us to watch out for the Life Sciences Industry Strategy due out at the end of July 2017. She suggested that we have the opportunity to lead change and develop the HCS workforce to enable us to face the challenges that an ageing population will bring. There is a definite focus from the CSO’s team on clinical and professional leadership with an emphasis on quality. IQIPS is a key focus and there is a push to increase its uptake across all relevant HCS disciplines. Experts are required to drive its delivery. There is also a document in development which will look at Modernising Scientific Careers 10 years on. This will look at such issues as apprenticeships, STP/HSST funding and Clinical Academic Careers. Dr Brendan Cooper from the Academy for Healthcare Science (AHCS) then presented on the ‘One Voice for Healthcare Scientists’ campaign and highlighted some of the work streams that the AHCS council would be working on in the coming months. They are looking to undertake a workforce survey across all HCS disciplines and aim to work closely with the Professional bodies to obtain useful data to give a clear picture of what the healthcare science workforce looks like and what the difficulties are. It was suggested that the current data held nationally is not useful. There was also much discussion about the Lead Healthcare Scientist roles within NHS Trusts. Currently, 60% of Trusts have Lead HCS’s in place, but there was some doubt that all of these were active within their Trusts. The importance of this role in giving local traction to the Healthcare Science workforce was stressed. I would be keen to hear from any BAA members, working in the NHS, who have active Lead Healthcare Scientists in their Trusts and a good network of support across the HCS workforce. Sharing of good practice is vital so that the HCS profession can develop its strong voice nationally. This is a role I intend to investigate within my own trust.

 

Dianne Hogg presented on the medicines mechanisms and prescribing work that some of you will have been aware of. In terms of Audiology, this work will, for now, focus on the protected title of ‘Clinical Scientists’. This will mean that members of RCCP will not currently be included, although in time through equivalency there may be a way for them to participate. RHAD’s are also not in scope at this time. Although this might look like a small step forward, it is an essential step to hopefully improve patient care in the longer term. Jagjit Sethi has offered to represent BAA in this particular stream of work.

 

I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. I look forward to sharing further developments with you in my next blog in a couple of weeks with an update on any actions from our Board meeting next week. As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 25th June 2017

Where did those 2 weeks go? This presidential year is racing by and it seems as if we are now counting down to Conference 2017 where I will hand over my ‘crown’ to Sue Falkingham and begin my final year on Board as Immediate Past President. I will have served 6 years on BAA Board and not sure what I’ll do with myself once I’ve finished. I’m sure I will still have some role to play!

 

Good news on the ‘day job front’ – Audiology Services at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have successfully retained our UKAS accreditation after 2 gruelling days of assessment and we have also had our PN4 upgrade, which was relatively uneventful. Hopefully, life will now become a little less stressful as we approach the summer holidays. 

 

There is also good news on a wider Audiology front as we hear that the Milton Keynes CCG has decided not to pursue the proposal to limit service provision in Audiology services and exclude patients with mild hearing loss. This decision was made after 8 weeks of consultation with patients, members of the public, providers and stakeholders, of which BAA was one. I spoke directly to the commissioning team early on in their consultation and they did seem open to our suggestion that rationing was not the way forward, but that looking at ways to make services more efficient and cost effective would be the better option. Dr Nicola Smith, Chair of NHS Milton Keynes said they had listened to all the views of patients and stakeholders about the adult hearing services and would be looking to improve the way services are commissioned to achieve cost-effectiveness and service quality. People power does work!!

 

This week you will have all received a couple of emails that we at BAA thought we needed to share with you on an individual basis. We try not to fill your inboxes unnecessarily and send many of our notifications through our Horizon, but this information was thought important enough to share on an urgent basis. As I have shared with you in previous blogs, RCCP and AHCS have been involved in talks around joint working for the past few years and BAA have been heavily involved in these discussions as one of several professional bodies who support both AHCS and RCCP. Everyone’s goal is to achieve a single register, however, there are still areas where the professional bodies have concerns and we need to continue our discussions to ensure all our members’ needs are represented. An update from RCCP Chair, Trefor Watts is included in this week’s Horizon and BAA Board are currently working on a statement that will be released to our members in due course advising of our stance on recent developments. We assure all our members that your best interests are at the forefront of all decisions we make. 

 

You will also have received a short survey from Karen Shepherd, our Board Lead for CPD, Regional Groups and Membership. We value the thoughts of our BAA membership and appreciate that time away from the workplace is not easy to find, so we want to ensure that our future events meet your needs and enable you to justify that time away from your ‘day job’. I would therefore encourage all members to complete the very short survey which will only take a few minutes of your time, but will enable us to arrange regional events that meet your needs. This is all part of our ongoing discussions with our fellow organisations, BSA and BSHAA, and the hope that we can organise a joint event early in 2018 to meet the needs of the wider Audiology workforce. We look forward to receiving your views and would appreciate if this could be done by the end of June.

 

Talking about joint working, I am looking forward to meeting up with colleagues at BSA Conference later this week. I will be attending the conference on 29th and 30th June as an exhibitor, manning the BAA stand over the 2 days, but look forward to networking with all attendees. Please come and say hello at the BAA stand where I will have information about our BAA Conference in November.  I am also looking forward to meeting with Bill Davidson from Australian Hearing whilst I am there. He is keen to discuss how NHS hearing services are changing from both a national and local perspective and I am happy to share my views with him from both the perspective of BAA president and a NHS hearing services employee.

 

BSA Conference starts a busy few days for me, I will be in Harrogate from Wednesday 28th June until Friday 30th June and I will then return home to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday. However, I will be quickly on my travels again as I head off up to Scotland on Sunday 2nd July for a meeting with BAA’s CEO, Wendy Farrington Chadd and our BAA admin team on Monday 3rd July, in preparation for the BAA Board meeting on the 19th July. The Board meeting agenda is jam packed with discussion matters including results of both the workforce and membership survey and an update of all BAA Board job descriptions in preparation for Board nominations which will be coming up in August. We will also be asking for nominations for Vice President to work alongside Sue Falkingham in her presidential year. Returning home on Monday evening, I will be off to bed early in preparation for a trip to London on the 4th July to NHS England’s HCS Strategy meeting. I look forward to updating you about my busy week in my next blog.

 

If you are following our social media, you will see regular updates about our BAA Conference in November. There will be ‘All you need to know sessions’ in the programme offering practical advice for clinics, alongside efficiency tracks which will focus on service improvements. The awards ceremony will include the new Paediatric Audiologist award sponsored by Phonak, so if you know a paediatric audiologist who deserves recognition then visit our website to find out how to nominate them. Alternatively, if you are a student member of BAA, you might be eligible to win the all new Student of the Year award sponsored by Oticon. Details can be found on the BAA Conference website. Anyone nominated for awards must be a BAA member to be eligible. I look forward to seeing many of you in Bournemouth on the 16th-17th November!

 

I thank you for taking time to read my blog and assure you that BAA continue to work hard on your behalf. I look forward to sharing further developments with you in my next blog in a couple of weeks. As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk

Presidential Blog - 11th June 2017

Alongside my role as President of the BAA, I also have a full time ‘day job’ as Clinical Lead for Adult Audiology at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Over the past few weeks, my BAA role has had to take a back seat as we prepare for our UKAS Accreditation Review visit on 14th/15th June. For those of you familiar with the process, you will appreciate the amount of preparation required even when it is a review visit. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our staff involved in the preparation – fingers crossed it will all pay off this week. My BAA role is a busy one and I would also like to thank my Head of Service and all the staff back at base for all their support in the past few years. I have enjoyed every minute of my BAA service, but certainly couldn’t have done it without their ongoing support. Thank you J

 

Despite my distraction over the past few weeks, the work of the BAA Board and its committees has continued. Wendy Farrington Chadd, our Consultant CEO, has been busy examining the membership survey results with Darren Cordon, our Pub and Comms Lead. These results will be presented to Board at our next Board meeting in July and an action plan will be developed to take any key issues forward. Wendy has also been working with the data gathered from our Workforce survey late last year. As with the membership survey results, we will be formulating an action plan to present at the Board meeting, which will of course be shared with members once it is agreed. I am also working with Wendy in the process of updating all the BAA Board job descriptions. BAA Board will have several vacancies coming up and we hope to have much clearer job descriptions in place so that we can recruit into specific roles. Look out for the call for nominations which will take place over the summer. We are always looking for members to join our many committees, so anyone who is keen to get involved, please get in touch via our BAA admin email – details are below.

 

If you are following our social media, you will see that Claire Benton and our Conference planning team are working hard to make Bournemouth 2017 a conference to remember. Regular updates will be found on our Facebook and Twitter and in the Horizon email which is sent out to members fortnightly. I will also keep you up to date with my fortnightly blog. Claire has also written an article for the BAA Summer magazine, which will give you a more detailed overview of the Conference plans, including the programme. The magazine will be dropping through your letterboxes in July. At this point, I would like to announce that the editor of our BAA magazine, Kathryn Whitfield, is sadly stepping down from her role with BAA and the July magazine will be her last edition. Kathryn has been a much loved member of the BAA team, serving on the Conference planning committee for several years alongside her editor role. She is leaving Audiology and moving onto pastures new, so we wish her all the best in her new role. However, it is definitely a big loss to Audiology and BAA. Thank you for all your hard work Kathryn. It has been a pleasure working with you. Anyone who is interested in the editor role, please get in touch. BAA Needs You!!

 

Karen Shepherd, our Board Lead for the regional teams is also working hard in conjunction with our colleagues from BSA and BSHAA. We are looking to organise a Supra Regional Event in early 2018 which will be potentially co-hosted by the 3 organisations. We will keep you updated on this proposed new venture.

 

As you can see, BAA continue to work hard on your behalf and I look forward to sharing further developments with you in my next blog in a couple of weeks. As always, if you have any questions or queries or if you want to get involved with any of our committees or teams, please do not hesitate to contact me via our BAA admin - baa@fitwise.co.uk


Presidential Blog - 29th May 2017

Happy Bank Holiday to all, although if the weather is anything like it is here in Derby, there’s not a lot to be happy about :)

At least it doesn’t feel so bad sitting inside catching up on BAA work when it’s raining outside and I did manage to have a lovely day in the garden yesterday.

Well another 2 weeks have passed and I am now 28 weeks into my Presidency with only 24 weeks until the baton is passed to Sue Falkingham at BAA Conference 2017 in Bournemouth. I hope many of you will be able to join me to celebrate the end of my presidency.

With BAA Conference in mind, I hope you will be following social media over the coming months as we share further details of what to expect in Bournemouth in November. Claire Benton, BAA Conference Lead and her Conference planning team are working hard to pull together another exciting programme. I know they have taken into account some of the comments from Conference feedback last year and will be changing some aspects of the programme to reflect this. I will continue to keep you updated via my Blog and we will also share details via the fortnightly Horizon newsletter.

In my last Blog, I reminded you all to complete the membership survey which had been sent out to all members. Results have now been collated by our management company, Fitwise and sent to myself, Wendy Farrington-Chadd, our consultant CEO and Darren Cordon, BAA Publicity and Communications Lead for evaluation. I have spent the last week looking over the responses and, although there are a lot of positive responses which will help BAA form our direction going forward, there are disappointing responses too. I would just like to take this opportunity to remind you all that the BAA Board and committee members are all volunteers and some of the hard work they do for the profession is done so in their own time. As President, I am allocated one day a week for my BAA duties, which I can assure you does not touch the amount of work involved. As well as my Presidential duties, I also have a day job in the NHS which I’m sure many of you will agree is a challenge at present. Over the next month, I will be involved in a 2 day IQIPS accreditation visit and the disruption of a PN upgrade within my department alongside the usual challenges of sick leave, maternity leave and meeting deadlines and demand. I’m sure that working in Audiology in any sector is a challenge at present and I assure you that BAA are working hard in the national arena to represent the Audiology profession as best we can. Workforce challenges are a key issue which is on our agenda for 2017 and we intend to discuss issues gained from the workforce survey at our next Board meeting in July. Unfortunately, with all our best intentions, it is not within the remit of BAA to solve this issue, but we can make sure that BAA give Audiology the voice it needs at a national level via the AHCS, NHS England and Health Education England. We would encourage all members to read the recent information prepared by our Education team on Apprenticeships, as this route of entry into the Audiology profession will need to be seriously considered as PTP numbers are on the decline.

Unfortunately, the challenges of the day job are now making it difficult for BAA to recruit members to our committees and to Board. This means that the work we can do is limited by the manpower resources we have and we would therefore encourage members to consider volunteering for our committees or put yourself forward for BAA Board when nominations open later this year.

Well, after all that, I just want to say that I have enjoyed every minute of, not only my presidency, but all my BAA work from being a regional representative to all the committees I have served on during my term as a Board member. I have learnt so much and, despite the hard work involved, increased my passion for the profession. As a profession, we have a lot to celebrate, but it is a challenging time and alongside BSA and BSHAA we are trying to represent all those employed within the Audiology profession. As President of BAA, I am in regular contact with BSA and BSHAA and we sit jointly on many committees so that all those employed in Audiology have a voice in the national arena. My recent visit to BSHAA Conference, allowed me to network with colleagues from the private sector to discuss where we can work together for the good of the profession. At the end of June, I will attend BSA Conference so that I can network with a different set of colleagues, but with the same aim.

I do hope that this blog has served to reassure you that BAA are working hard on behalf of you all and that we will do all we can to give Audiology a voice in the national arena.  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 - 14th May 2017

Another 2 weeks have passed and I have just spent a few days at the BSHAA Congress at the Five Lakes Hotel in Colchester. BAA, represented by myself and Sue Falkingham, Vice President, had a stand in the exhibition hall and we were there to promote the work of BAA and encourage delegates to join as members. Our own BAA Conference, which will be held in Bournemouth in November 2017 was launched on Friday and we took the opportunity whilst at BSHAA to promote the Conference. Our Gala Dinner will have an 80s theme and we promoted this fact at the BSHAA event by giving out retro sweets at our stand and challenging delegates to solve the Rubik’s Cube.

The BSHAA Congress dinner on Friday night was the opportunity to relax and network with delegates and fellow exhibitors. However, the highlight of the evening for me was being asked to judge the BSHAA’s Got Talent competition. It certainly proved that there are several BSHAA members who have considerable talent, aside from their audiological skills. Congratulations to the winner, Gerry Allchorne, who had the audience on their feet with a fabulous rendition of Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’. BSHAA also welcomed Sophie Biebuyck and her hearing dog, Rusty to the Congress dinner and there were a few tears as Sophie spoke about the huge impact that Rusty has had on her life.

Despite the social side of attending the event, it was a great opportunity to network with both Sarah Vokes, President of BSHAA and its Chief Executive, David Welbourn. BAA and BSHAA are keen to work together collaboratively for the benefit of all our membership and it was also great to see Laura Turton, Operations Manager of BSA at the event. BAA are also in talks with BSA regarding collaborative ventures. Myself and Sue will also be attending the BSA Conference in Harrogate in June to again promote inter professional working and collaboration where there are shared interests.

However, let’s not forget that the BAA Conference will be the Audiology event of the year, so please visit our website and register for what promises to be a fantastic event. Over the coming months I will keep you updated on Conference developments and there will be regular updates on social media and via the fortnightly Horizon.

Speaking of the Horizon, look out for an update from our Education team regarding Apprenticeships, interesting reading and hopefully a great opportunity to grow the Audiology workforce of the future.

Can I also remind you all to complete the membership survey which was recently sent to all members. We value your opinions.

I will say goodbye for now, 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 - 1st May 2017

Another Presidential blog and another Bank Holiday. I hope you have all had a lovely extended weekend and only a few weeks to wait before another!

A quiet couple of weeks for me in terms of BAA external meetings, but the quarterly BAA Board meeting on the 24th April was full of discussion matters. After the recent resignation of Matt Murray from his role as treasurer and secretary of BAA, the Board discussed the best way of taking this forward. As the job descriptions for BAA Board members are currently under review, it was decided that in the interim period until new Board members are recruited (November 2017), Jagjit Sethi will cover the role of treasurer and Karen Shepherd will take on the secretary role. Jagjit is currently the Immediate Past President, but previously sat in the role of Treasurer and is therefore experienced in the financial side of BAA. She will work closely with our Fitwise colleagues, as we enter into the new financial year in a healthy financial position. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Jagjit and Karen for offering to cover these roles. They will also have the ongoing support of both myself and Wendy, our Consultant CEO and of course the rest of the BAA Board. Some time was spent discussing the board roles and job descriptions. Wendy’s new set of eyes have highlighted how there needs to be some clarification regarding the roles of the President, Vice President and Past President, taking some pressure off the President during their tenure. The discussion was positive and Wendy and myself will continue this work. The aim is to clarify the requirements within the job descriptions, bring clarity to the objectives and expectations for all board roles and how they link in with the other committees. We will also work on a review of the BAA constitution. At the Board meeting, we also discussed the draft membership survey pulled together by Wendy and Darren Cordon, our Pub and Comms Lead. A few alterations and additions were suggested, but this should be dropping into your inboxes within the next few weeks and again I encourage you to take a few minutes out of your busy day to complete it. We welcome your comments and input.

I am looking forward to representing BAA at the BSHAA Conference on the 12th and 13th May and both myself and Sue Falkingham, Vice President, will be manning the BAA stand in the exhibition. Please come and say hello if you are attending.

On a final note, I had a moment this week when I took a step back and thought about how my Audiology life has given me moments of great pride. I have, during my 30 years in the profession, met and worked with some wonderful people and am immensely proud of where I am today. I really do feel very privileged to be President of the British Academy of Audiology. However, I did have an ‘I am not worthy’ moment this week when I opened my emails and found an email from none other than Harvey Dillon sitting in my inbox!!

I look forward to telling you all about the BSHAA Conference in my next blog.

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 - 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.

 

Information about BAA Past Presidents and the Past Presidents blog is now archived here