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Dr. Malcolm Fisk

Biographical note

Malcolm is the Chair of Age Cymru, Wales’ national charity for older people ( that undertakes research; supports local activities; provides a bi-lingual helpline service; campaigns for an age-friendly Wales and closely engages with Welsh Government on key issues affecting older people.  
In his position as Senior Research Fellow at De Montfort University Malcolm leads the European Commission funded PROGRESSIVE project - see that is addressing ‘standards around ICT for active and healthy ageing’. This focuses on issues that relate to age-friendly design, smart homes, telehealth, co-production and interoperability. It begun in 2016 (ends January 2019) and involves 10 partners including EHTEL (the European Health Telematics Association) and AGE Platform Europe. Malcolm chairs the 'spin-off' CEN CENELEC STAIR-AHA (Standardisation, Innovation and Research) platform that will engage with users (of products and services) with a view to influencing the way that the standardisation process can embed co-production approaches to help support active and healthy ageing. He also has a key role in the European Commission funded COMPASS project - see concerned with responsible research and innovation for nanotechnology, cybersecurity and health technologies. 

As Director of the Telehealth Quality Group (TQG) Malcolm is actively engaged in supporting the development of telehealth services according to appropriate service paradigms (see This includes the development and promotion of a well-respected International Code of Practice for Telehealth Services. He leads a Special Interest Group (SIG) that is developing protocols for video- and tele-consultations.

Malcolm’s other roles include being an expert advisor for ANEC (The European Consumer Voice on Standardisation) and a participant in two European CEN Committees for (a) person-centred patient care; and (b) quality of care for older people. He is a member of a Quality Standards Advisory Committee for NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. He is expert Advisor to the European Commission Coordination Hub for Open Robotics.

Previously Malcolm was (appointed by Welsh Government) as the first Chair of the National Partnership Forum for Older People (that had a key role in establishing the office of the Older People's Commissioner for Wales; and in shaping the Strategy for Older People in Wales). Subsequently he has been engaged by Welsh Government to provide expert advice on addressing poverty and inequality; and on the housing and related support needs for older people.



Dr Malcolm J Fisk, Senior Research Fellow, De Montfort University

The focus of this presentation is, for the most part, on older people. It takes, however, a ‘life-course’ approach that recognises that the behaviours, lifestyles and ways of thinking that impact on our older age are shaped by social norms, beliefs and assumptions that begin at the knees of our grandparents. Those norms are re-enforced through our education; through the ways we are guided to particular jobs or professions; through the way manufacturers and suppliers of goods and services market their wares; and through the rigidity of established government frameworks – in most cases arguably trapped within particular, and increasingly out of date, mindsets.

Two key developments are noted. These make it imperative that we escape from those out of date mindsets. Firstly, the extent of demographic change cannot be ignored. It demands a new recognition of (and a new approach to) older age that is around rights, dignity and much more. Such matters have been signalled in Czech national programmes and are reflected in laudable thinking in the European Commission. Secondly, it is essential to harness the power of the growing array of new technologies and communications networks. They are increasingly available, accessible and user-friendly. If properly configured, they can empower us all regardless of our age.

In arguing the case for radical change, an ethical starting point is taken. The presentation starts by drawing on ethical tenets from the work of the PROGRESSIVE project (on ‘Standards for ICT and Active and Healthy Ageing’). These tenets extend from accessibility and control, to justice and security and must, it is suggested, guide us in shaping future services and technologies. They have special relevance in the context of our ageing population. They mean thinking very differently (changing our mindsets) and shaking off some of those old norms, beliefs and assumptions. This presentation unhesitatingly puts these ethical tenets forward and begins to explore, most notably in the context of older people, some real and important implications for social workers and home care staff.