Sections /Special Interest Groups

Providing care to older people requires training and specialist knowledge of a broad spectrum of sub-specialties. Health care professionals wishing to share their knowledge, conduct specific research or develop further clinical skills are encouraged to join our Sections and Special Interest Groups.

Please indicate your membership of the Sections or Special Interest Groups below. BGS members can join any group without restrictions. Non-Members might be unable to join specific groups or placed on a waiting list depending on the group's constitution and composition requirements.

Sections are groups with close ties to external bodies. These include Cardiovascular, Dementia and Related Disorders, Falls and Bone Health and Movement Disorders sections.

Special Interest Groups include Anaemia, Bladder & Bowel Health, Community Geriatrics, Diabetes, Drugs and Prescribing, Epilepsy, Ethics and Law, Frailty and Sarcopenia Research, Gastroenterology/Nutrition, Specialist Nurses, Oncology, Pain, Proactive Care of Older People undergoing Surgery (PoPs) and Telecare/Telehealth


SIGs and Sections either hold their own annual scientific meetings or feature in parallel sessions at the Society’s UK meetings. Please see the events calendar for upcoming meetings.


The SIGs and Sections respond to government consultation documents, and publish guidelines and policy statements. For example: the Diabetes SIG produced guidelines on how to manage older people with diabetes, entitled, ‘Unified Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Diabetes’; the Drugs & Prescribing SIG has run national training sessions on clinical pharmacology for junior doctors; the Gastroenterology & Nutrition SIG has held a popular symposium on under-nutrition in acute illness; the Ethics and Law SIG offered advice to the Lord Chancellor’s Department on legislation covering mental incapacity. 

The presence of the SIGs and Sections, which include physicians, scientists and allied health professionals from outside the Society has enabled the Society to offer advice to government agencies, drawing on a wide range of expertise. They serve as the Society’s source of clinical innovation, deriving and maintaining high standards of clinical care, and disseminating specialist knowledge.


Anaemia is a common condition in the older population. In this group, the cause of anaemia is often multifactorial including inadequate dietary intake, malabsorption, occult bleeding, medications, or bone marrow disorders. Moreover, because of multi-morbidity in older age, conditions leading to anaemia often co-exit, making the diagnosis challenging. Further complexity comes from the fact that while anaemia and iron deficiency anaemia are included in various speciality-specific diagnosis and treatment guidelines, there is no specific guidance document for iron deficiency or anaemia in the older population.  The definitions of anaemia and iron deficiency are also often inconsistently applied. Awareness and understanding the importance of treating anaemia are currently suboptimal. Anaemia and iron deficiency are potentially modifiable conditions which, if addressed, can be used to promote a preventative model of care where proactive management can support older people to avoid unnecessary hospital attendances, maintain their independence and sustain quality of life.

Aims and Objectives

  • To improve quality of care for older people with anaemia and iron deficiency
  • To promote high quality research and facilitate networking of researchers as the academic lead for anaemia and iron deficiency in older people
  • Engage in healthcare policy as key consultee for the BGS on anaemia with medical or political bodies with an interest in older people
  • To attract, channel expertise from specialists allied to anaemia and provide as well as co-ordinate expertise in the field of iron and anaemia management

Bladder & Bowel Health SIG

This includes popular clinical guidelines on incontinence

Cardiovascular Section

Promotes links with the British Cardiac Society and other medical societies with a cardiac interest.

Community Geriatrics SIG

This section deals with frailty and the management of long-term conditions. Much of the BGS dignity campaigns are done under the auspices of this SIG.

Dementia and Related Disorders Section

The Section is constitutionally part of the British Geriatrics Society, but is affiliated to the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FOAP).

Diabetes SIG

This SIG aims to draw together, identify and co-ordinate expertise and interest in the field of diabetes amongst members of the Group. It includes the popular guideline: Management of Diabetes in Older People.

Drugs and Prescribing Section

This section brings together those interested in practice and research in the field of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics of ageing. One of its long standing officers, Sinead O'Mahony has been involved in lobbying for the inclusion of older people in clinical trials

Epilepsy in Older People SIG

Epilepsy is the third most common neurological condition in older people. People over the age of 65 years experience the highest incidence of first seizures and the incidence of epilepsy continues to rise sharply with increasing age, yet it is one of the most misdiagnosed and under-treated conditions affecting older people.

Ethics and Law SIG

This section seeks to provide a forum within the Society for constructive and informed debate on moral issues. It informs BGS policy on matters which have an ethical dimension, e.g. consultation on privately funded drugs and NHS care.

Falls and Bone Health Section

This popular section draws together multidisciplinary interest and expertise on fall prevention and bone health. It also acts as an interface with other relevant organisations such as the National Osteoporosis Society.

Frailty and Sarcopenia Research

Sarcopenia has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research. Sarcopenia is inextricably linked with frailty, and identification and treatment of both these conditions is likely to go hand in hand. It therefore makes sense to use a joined up approach to research and practice for sarcopenia and frailty – hence the rationale for bringing them together in this new SIG. The new SIG has two key aims:

  • To promote research in sarcopenia and frailty with the aim of improving identification, understanding, prevention and treatment of these conditions
  • To disseminate best practice and improve care for patients with sarcopenia and frailty

We need your help to do this. Whether it is by recruiting to clinical trials, contributing to observational research, sharing your innovative local practice or helping test new measurement tools, we will improve care most effectively by joining together and collaborating. Joining the Frailty and Sarcopenia Research SIG will ensure that we can undertake effective, relevant research, and translate that research into clinical practice with a minimum of delay.

Frailty and Sarcopenia Research SiG

Sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and function, is now recognised as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research. Sarcopenia is a major component of physical frailty and studies often encompass the two, providing the rationale for bringing them together in this new research focused SIG.

Our understanding of sarcopenia has reached a point where clinical trials to treat sarcopenia are starting; such a SIG will facilitate participation in such trials as well as providing a network for clinicians to collaborate on large-scale observational studies. Such an approach is likely to reduce research waste, maximise the ability of studies to recruit, and speed the uptake of research results into clinical practice.

Frailty research has a long and established tradition in geriatric medicine and this SIG would help bring together a critical mass of leading researchers in the field as well as provide an opportunity to attract those who might be interested in being involved in the future –  essential for capacity building in this vital area. The SIG would also act as an important conduit for rapid translation of research findings into clinical practice and guidelines.

Our aim would be for the SIG to become the UK forum to allow clinicians and researchers with an interest in the aetiology, prognosis and treatment of sarcopenia and frailty to work together. Such a forum would not only promote high quality research but would greatly facilitate translation of such research into changes in clinical practice. The forum would facilitate future large scale studies, would act as a focus for quality improvement initiatives, would drive uptake of best practice and would open the door to future benchmarking initiatives.


  •  To promote research in sarcopenia and frailty with the aim of improving identification,  understanding, prevention and treatment of these conditions
  • To disseminate best practice and improve care for patients with sarcopenia and frailty

The SIG will bring together a community of researchers and clinicians to improve how we treat sarcopenia and frailty by:

  • Facilitating translation of basic science findings in sarcopenia and frailty to potential clinical interventions
  • Participating in large-scale observational research on sarcopenia and frailty
  • Participating in interventional trials on sarcopenia and frailty
  • Facilitating implementation of interventions for sarcopenia and frailty into clinical practice

Gastroenterology/Nutrition SIG

This section provides a focus for those in elderly care who have a particular interest in gastro-enterological and nutritional problems

Movement Disorders Section

Formerly known as the Parkinson's Disease Section, this Section now covers Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal Degeneration, Essential Tremor, Dystonia and other related disorders. It is also under auspices of this section, that the increasingly popular Parkinson's Masterclasses are held.

Oncology (SIG)

The BGS Oncology Special Interest Group will serve as a section for doctors, nurses and allied health professional with an interest in cancer in older age patients.

Pain (SIG)

Pain in older people is common. Although prevalence rates have varied, figures as high as 93% have been noted in some studies involving older people in residential care. However pain in older people is both under-recognised and under-treated. Many professional bodies have documented that pain in this rapidly growing population is poorly controlled and that treatment, when prescribed, is often limited to basic medication seldom tailored to the individual. Pain tended to be considered as part of the ageing process and was rarely investigated in its own right. There is also a general failure by professionals to consider alternative pain relief options.

Despite the presence of a number of effective therapies for managing pain, treatment in older people poses special challenges. Older people are different; the bio-physiological changes that occur with ageing, the accumulation of co-morbidities and co-prescription of medication, frailty and psychosocial changes make older people rather unique when considering treatment modalities for pain control.

Management is therefore complicated by the changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics associated with ageing and the potential for adverse drug interaction is increased as older people are also more sensitive to the adverse drugs effects.

More needs to done to increase awareness among geriatricians and clinicians managing older people. The SIG platform will disseminate knowledge among geriatricians and promoting quality care for older people. The BGS jointly with the BPS recently produced the first national guidelines for management of pain in older people..

Proactive care of older people undergoing surgery (POPS) (SIG)

This SIG was launched in March 2012 against a background of increasing numbers of older people undergoing and benefiting from surgery. The object of the group is to encourage research and models of care which improve outcomes by optimising physical, psychosocial and functional well-being, prior to and following surgery, in older surgical patients. 


Telecare/Telehealth (SIG)

The BGS Telecare, telehealth and telemedicine special interest group exists to to share experiences and proposals and analyse evidence within the rapidly evolving area of telemedicine. In particular, the Society seeks to ensure that older people are not adversely affected by a clinical decision-making process in which people receive a technology-centred treatment pathway without reference to their clinical ability to benefit.


Urgent Care for Older People with Frailty

Older people accessing urgent care settings (namely emergency departments and acute hospital care) are amongst the most vulnerable in society. Despite huge efforts by the NHS and social care systems to provide more care at home, there will always be large numbers of older people who attend emergency departments, many of whom will require on-going acute hospital care. It is well-established that older people in urgent care settings are at high risk of adverse outcomes, such as hospital acquired harms (falls, fractures, confusion, pressure sores, death), which links to longer length of stay, increased risk of readmission upon discharge and increased risk of admission to long term care. Long waits in emergency departments further increase these risks and add to a poor patient experience.

The BGS is a critical partner in developing a better response to older people in urgent care settings, not least through local leadership (delivery of CGA), national leadership (policy initiatives e.g. Silver Book) and international networking (e.g. EUGMS special interest group on emergency care, North American links). Nationally the BGS is on the programme board of the Acute Frailty Network (AFN), a national improvement collaborative which has supported 34 hospitals in England to date to improve their process of care for older people with urgent care needs. The AFN works with hospitals intensively for 1 year, and provides on-going support thereafter as required. The role of the BGS urgent care SiG would be to build upon previous BGS initiatives, including the AFN to further improve outcomes for older people with urgent care needs.


The over-arching aim of the urgent care SiG is to improve outcomes for older people with urgent care needs.


  • To create a clinical community of BGS members and other groups interested in urgent care for older people. Representatives from the Society of Acute Medicine, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, College of Occupational Therapists, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Royal College of Nursing, NHS Emergency Care Improvement Programme (ECIP), Acute Frailty Network and NHS England, national patient/public representation and social care (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) will be invited to participate in this SiG as non-office bearing collaborators
  • To share examples of best practice in urgent care for older people at BGS events and in BGS publications
  • To work with the BGS to promote and influence policy relating to urgent care for older people
  • To support research into urgent care for older people
  • To develop education and training materials to help BGS and other SiG members improve their response to older people with urgent care needs


If you need any help  
contact the membership officer,
Alma Johnson on 0203 747 6942  
during office hours or e-mail