The University of Aberdeen is to lead the first audit of specialist geriatric medicine services for older people in Scotland in collaboration with Health Improvement Scotland and the British Geriatrics Society.
The review is expected to play an important role in improving patient safety, quality and standard of care and contribute to a better overall quality of life for older people in Scotland.
It is well established that National Audits can improve standards of care and lead to improved outcomes in conditions.
Audits are regularly carried out for conditions such as Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and areas such as Critical Care and Trauma Management but this will be the first to look at specialist care provision and delivery for older people.
The Scottish Care of Older People (SCoOP) audit follows on from the NHS Benchmarking report in April 2016 in England which produced a highly detailed picture of the standards of acute hospital care for older people in 49 Trusts and Local Health Boards.
Despite older people being a major user group of acute medical and surgical services in the UK, the detail has not been systematically assessed throughout Scotland.
The overarching aim of SCoOP is to provide information that can be built upon for better understanding of standards of care and areas for improvement. This will provide benchmarking tools to further improve the care standards for older people across Scotland for the benefit of patients, public, NHS and policy makers.
Dr Graham Ellis who is the National Clinical Lead for Older People in Scotland (Health Improvement Scotland) said “Audits such as this play a key role in demonstrating the variation in services across the country. This helps to ensure there is no ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to the care a person receives. Health and Social Care partnerships across Scotland are responsible for delivering standardised care which are shown to be linked to optimal outcomes for patients. This has reduced the variation in care and differences in outcomes observed previously.”
Professor Phyo Myint, co-Chair of the SCoOP steering group, from the University of Aberdeen said “The reason that care for older people has not yet been systematically assessed is perhaps due to the complexity of the admission process, wide number of conditions an older person can have and many more factors.
The scope of this study has been drawn up carefully to ensure it is feasible to gather a meaningful amount of data without over-reaching.”
Dr Christine McAlpine, Chair of the British Geriatrics Society’s Scotland Council said: “BGS Scotland is delighted to support this nationwide audit which should provide very useful information to inform and support the work of geriatric medicine services across Scotland.”