Annual Congress 2013 - Birmingham


Free registration (courtesy of the past-Treasurer, John Timperley), Specialist Society involvement centre-stage, revalidation, accreditation, instructional courses for trainees and a radical rethink on format. Did they work? David Stanley deserves credit for accepting and shaping these ambitious hopes from the many who contributed to this year’s BOA Annual Congress – Birmingham 2013.

Tuesday dawned, nominally a pre-meeting session traditionally not well attended. Inspired programming and excellent presentations (Infection, Technology in education, GP interface sessions and the BJJ session) were all attended by record numbers, indeed some sessions were heavily oversubscribed with secondary feeds to other halls installed at short notice. Portents of things to come.

The 'Official' opening day saw more excellent revalidation/instructional sessions across trauma and orthopaedics that were extremely well attended. The Medico-legal Practice forum was grossly oversubscribed; ironically some attendees unable to gain access for Health and Safety reasons! A position that always goes down well with Orthopaedic Surgeons. Trauma Boot Camp introduced a new format starting with the upper limb and BESS completed an outstanding instructional day.

As usual, the plenary lectures were diamond gems – James Stiehl on ligament balancing (Adrian Henry Lecture), Bob Barrack on DVT prophylaxis (Charnley lecture), Henrik Malchau on implant selection (Presidential Guest lecture) and Jimmy Hutchison on mortality (Walter Mercer Lecture). Howard Steel will be very happy! His eponymous lecture by Mark Stevenson (not a futurologist!) proved inspirational; creating a buzz over lunch which has not been present for many years! I now know why I have been angry since I was 35.

'An Interview with Keith Willett', our very own NHS England National Director, introduced a new live interview format. Professor Willett’s account of his elevation to this position was enlightening. Trauma and Orthopaedics now appears well represented at high levels but others should consider putting themselves forward to ensure succession planning. Influence is all. Peter Kay (NHS England Clinical Director for Musculoskeletal Services) presented a key plenary lecture entitled 'Innovation and Safety – Who Should be Responsible?' – thought provoking and challenging as one would expect from a BOA Past-President.

The NJR session on Thursday, proved a lively and topical session with the recent publication of surgeon specific 90 day mortality figures. Concerns were expressed about the reliability of data in the public domain and the crude way that it has been portrayed in the media. There was a very lively Q and A session. Following the specialty led theme there was an excellent all day instructional course provided by BOFAS which included the Judith Baumhauer Evidence Vs Anecdote (Naughton Dunn lecture). This included the observation that Naughton Dunn may have been the first to advocate PROMS. Basic Science, Trauma, BSCOS, BLRS and Spinal fora together with several free paper sessions, including the Best of the Best provided a balanced choice of knowledge for all on the day. BOTA tried to help the plight of new consultants and the Training Programme Directors had a closed session. Should we know what they were up to?

Trauma Bootcamp sections were completed on Friday. The rolling programme and punchy format was very well received by all. The short, sharp, authoritative messages were particularly useful for those preparing for the FRCS (Tr/Orth) (as well as those of us trying to stay current). The session on Good Clinical Practice in research was well received. The Clinical Examination Course for FRCS Orth, unfortunately heavily over-subscribed was a resounding success – book early next time! There were excellent sessions presented by the Patient Liaison Group (PLG) and ARMA, both of which sparked lively debate, CAOS, BODS and WOC. ARUK presented a Young Investigators Award. Prior to the Closing Ceremony there was a lively discussion entitled 'Putting Leadership into Action: Perspectives from T&O'. The Closing Ceremony marked Martyn Porter completing his year as BOA President, and handing the baton on to Prof Tim Briggs.

The Congress Dinner was held at the Jam House – a very different setting with good food, music and dancing, all much less formal. This was a very enjoyable change. There was a definite happy hubbub throughout the meeting, or was that networking?

Did congress achieve David Stanley’s ambitious dreams… and how!

• Largest turnout ever, over 2000 registrations.
• Specialty led sessions well attended to the end
• Instructional sessions packed
• Short courses oversubscribed
• New formats successful
• Revalidation ticked (at least in part)
• Even Industry were happy!

The BOA team are to be congratulated in almost achieving the impossible, coping with twice as many as were expected and yet still managing to smile! Yes there were things that will need to change but the overwhelming atmosphere was the hullabaloo of success.

As our new President Prof Tim Briggs said. “We are much stronger together than divided”.

Don McBride
BOA Trustee/Council Member
Vice Chairman BOA PLG