This year’s 66th Annual International BAPS Congress in Nottingham has been one of our best attended Congresses in recent years. The sun was shining and the leafy environs of the East Midlands Conference Centre welcomed over 300 international delegates from all over the world to share their research and ideas. The week kicked off with the Nurses Study Day and National Trainees’ Day; both meetings were packed to the rafters and the day was enjoyed by all. The next day, we were inundated with surgeons for the colorectal and oncology postgraduate courses, far more than had actually registered! In the main auditorium, the Trainees Free Paper session took centre stage, with Henry de Vogel taking home the prize for best presentation.
In a BAPS first, President Richard Stewart has been leading the initiative to collaborate with other medical charities on common interests such as research, education and public awareness. We therefore held our inaugural open forum jointly with CDH UK, TOFS, CLDF, Mitrofanoff Support, NEC UK and KidsOR. The feedback from the session has been tremendous and we look with optimism to working together in the future to improve patient care. Many of the charities representatives stayed on during the week meeting delegates and already a few research projects are being explored.
The main Congress opened after lunch on Wednesday with the first general surgery session followed by presentations from the 9 highest scoring trainee abstracts submitted for this year’s Congress. Our illustrious judging panel of Prof Paul Tam (Hong Kong), Prof Pat Donahoe (Boston) and Prof Mark Davenport (London) chose Joseph Davidson’s presentation on “Long-term outcomes of Hirschsprung’s Disease with intellectual impairment: a 35-year institutional series” as this year’s President’s Prize recipient for best Clinical Presentation by a trainee.
Our keynote speakers are always chosen for their pioneering work and this year was no exception. The Karl Storz Lecture was given by Prof Thomas Carus on new intra-operative imaging techniques; Prof Sir Terence Stephenson, immediate past chair of the GMC, delivered a great deal of food for thought on “Patient Safety – the Surgeon and the System”; Prof Todd Ponsky transferred his charismatic presentation style from the computer screen to the stage to talk about the influence of big data and social media on surgeons today as this year’s Journal of Pediatric Surgery State of the Art Lecturer; Prof John Gearhart brought his years of experience managing bladder extrophy to the podium for the Karl Storz Urology Lecture and stayed on to chair some lively discussion on the topic. John Abercrombie, Alun Williams and CDH-UK helped highlight the issues with transition care. Nigel Hall, Clare Rees and Jonathan Sutcliffe led an interactive session on research priorities in Britain.
Perhaps, the greatest privilege at Congress is the awarding of the Denis Browne Gold Medal in recognition of a lifetime of contribution to the field of Paediatric Surgery. Our Medallist this year was Prof Pat Donahoe, a paediatric surgeon who trained in the US and in the UK at Alder Hey Hospital and who continues to bring her scientific expertise on congenital diaphragmatic hernias to her research lab to the present day. She is a true pioneer and role model to the many surgeons who have followed her. The medal was presented by Sir Denis Browne’s son, Desmond Browne QC who gave us a further glimpse into the life of the surgeon as rule-breaker and role model.
BAPS Congress has always been an opportunity to catch up with colleagues old and new and this year’s meeting was no exception. The President’s Reception at the Senate Chamber opened with a welcome from the Sheriff of Nottingham Councillor Patience Uloma Ifediora. Delegates in Robin Hood hats revelled in the Civil War re-enactment and demonstrations whilst enjoying the BBQ in the warm summer sun. The Gala Dinner at the Council House was a more formal affair with a twist; the medieval music duo Sloe Gin brought the diners to a beautiful sit down meal with a trumpet fanfare and continued to entertain guests through the night.
We would like to thank all the chairs and presenters for their invaluable contribution to this year’s Congress and look forward to welcoming you all to Bruges in 2020!
Honorary Secretary of BAPS