AGM shines the light on standards in action 

This year’s AGM highlighted the difference that standards are making, with clinicians demonstrating successes for both professionals and patients.  

After welcome from our chair, Professor Maureen Baker and updates from our CEO, Lorraine Foley, chief medical officer of NHS Digital, Professor Jonathan Benger gave us a comprehensive run-down of the strides NHS Digital has made during the pandemic and how improvements in digital, data and technology will continue to support the health and care system. 

Our citizen lead on our just-completed social care project, Sam Bergin-Goncalves spoke about the crucial impact of ‘about me’ standards in health and care records. She was joined by the clinical lead on the project and President-elect of the British Geriatrics Society, Professor Adam Gordon, who discussed the impact social care standards could have on the overall care and wellbeing of people by ensuring information is available when needed for health and care professionals 

They were followed by pharmacist from Living Care in Leeds, Jay Patel, who highlighted the successes of the pharmacy standard, which ensures prescribing information can be shared digitally between GP practices and pharmacies. The result, he said, is time savings for GPs and it could help pharmacists to take on a broader scope of work and better support patients’ needs. Freeman Hospital renal consultantDr Ian Logan, then explained how much the outpatient letter standard has benefited patients he works with who receive regular kidney dialysisThe Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has issued guidance for writing directly to patients. We have supported this and found that patients with long-term conditions feel treated as individuals, who can better make their own decisions with the information provided,” he said. “There are challenges that come with this, but we feel most of these can be overcome. We think it improves relationships between patients and professionals.” 

In the final session Ceinwen Giles, Anisha Gangotra and Trishna Bharadia discusse their experiences with having a long-term condition during the pandemic and the importance of people working with health and care professionals to manage conditions. For shared decision making to work, it’s crucial for clinicians to have the right information,” explained Trishna, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis. “I’ve found that sharing information again and again puts a huge burden on the patient themselves.” The group agreed that the pandemic had shifted care towards patient self-management, which has pros and cons.  They said that it was crucial that people had the right tools and support for this to work successfully. This discussion will feed into work that we are just starting to develop a new shared decisionmaking standard.  

The slides from the AGM are available for anyone who missed the event. Please contact to find out more. Our annual report is a must read with updates from last year and plans for the future online.