Reports from the Education, Training and Research Committee

 January 2019

AUGIS has been busy in terms of conferences, training and research. Some people may ask what is the benefit of being an AUGIS member? Well I hope to convince you of the merits as we reflect on the past year but also look at what will be happening in 2019 and 2020.

Since my last report, we held the Annual AUGIS Conference in September 2018 in the iconic home of Scottish Rugby, Murrayfield. The scientific programme received excellent critic from all delegates. We had a record number of International Speakers at the conference, some of whom were staying on to enjoy a 30th Reunion of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary HPB and Upper GI Surgical Fellows. On the Wednesday morning, senior trainees enjoyed viva training in HPB, Bariatric and OG surgery with a faculty of highly experienced Intercollegiate Examiners. I didn’t see too many tears but heard that the session was extremely helpful for those preparing for the exam.

We had a record number of clinical nurse specialists and AHPs for their parallel session on the Wednesday morning but also for the ‘mixed’ afternoon plenary commencement of the main scientific programme. The feedback from the morning session was excellent with particular reference to the talk on Nurse lead follow-up clinics in pancreatic cancer. We enjoy a healthy multidisciplinary approach to upper GI patients in our day-to-day work and so it is logical to bring that to the AUGIS conference as well. I am delighted to say that the Wednesday afternoon session on pre-habilitation, ERAS and succeeding in complex teams was a fantastic start to the AUGIS conference. I am particularly indebted to Louise Jones (Aintree CNS) who presented. In my role as Chair, I am determined to bring many more multidisciplinary plenary sessions to future conference. After coffee, we enjoyed a tour de force presentation from the first of our International speakers, our friend Professor Rob Padbury from Adelaide, Australia.

On the second and third days of conference we addressed topics such as consequences of upper GI surgery, GORD and Hiatus hernia management, NICE guidelines in pancreatitis, Precision pancreas (with Prof Andrew Biankin), randomised controlled trials and their impact on clinical practice, and 3-D surgery. I was delighted that my old friend and colleague, Mr Brendan Visser, joined us from Stanford University Medical Centre. Ms Claire Jones, my colleague from Belfast, gave a very comprehensive and polished review of pancreatic cancer surgery despite having only one week to prepare. Thanks Claire!

We also welcomed several other ‘world leaders,’ namely Mr Don Lowe from Seattle USA, Prof. Takeshi-Sano from Tokyo, Japan, Prof John Windsor from Auckland, New Zealand, Mr Saxon Connor from Christchurch and Prof Kees Dejong from Maastricht University. One colleague remarked that the session on GORD and Hiatus Hernia Management was the best he has ever heard in over 20 years of attending conferences. Another highlighted the quality of the HPB presentations. One highlight worth mentioning was the highly entertaining debate on robotic surgery and special mention must go to Rafael Diez-Nieto from Aintree for his punishing rebuttal against Prof White (Newcastle). I am grateful to all delegates for sending in feedback, which we use to ensure the next conference is even better. I would like to offer my thanks to Mr Graeme Couper and Mr Peter Lamb, the local organisers. I would also like to congratulate Sarvjit and Nichola for pulling off another successful conference despite the challenges faced in this venue.

Moving on to future conferences, I would like to share a piece of history about Northern Ireland with you. The Troubles lasted over 40 years with many terrible atrocities occurring during that time. Explosions from 1970 to 1994 damaged the Europa Hotel, located in the heart of the city 33 times, making it the most bombed hotel in the world! Therefore, there is a sense of irony that BOMSS will be hosting its conference in the EUROPA hotel in January 2019. The programme looks fantastic and I would encourage as many to register as possible.

I am delighted to see that our extremely energetic trainees have completely revamped the old AUGISt trainees group and have launched the Roux Group. Under the leadership of Ms Siobhan McKay and a committee of like-minded trainees, the Roux group is organising an Inaugural Annual Trainee Weekend in Chesford Grange, Kenilworth on 9-10 March. I am delighted that AUGIS, BOMMS and GBIHPBA are fully supporting this initiative.

In September (25 – 27), we will hold our Annual AUGIS conference in Liverpool. Preparations are already underway. The entire conference will be based around Emergency Upper GI Surgery. The programme will reflect the diversity within AUGIS and, as previously stated, with a multidisciplinary approach. AUGIS is not just a society for cancer resectional surgeons but the vast majority of surgeons in District General Hospitals carrying out complex benign surgery and this will be reflected in the programme. Similar to this year, the conference will run from Wednesday lunchtime to Friday lunchtime.

In the summer Ashley Dennison (President GBIHPBA) and I had the opportunity to visit the Liver Surgeons in Shanghai, some of whom GBIHPBA members will remember from a very successful GBIHPBA meeting last year. Professor Fan, President of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University and his excellent team are committed to joining us from 14 – 16 October 2020 in Belfast for an exceptional conference. A tremendous amount of work has already taken place and I am delighted to inform you that we have agreement from BOMMS, GBIHPBA, the Pancreatic Society (PSGBI), Endoscopic Users Society (EUS UK) and our friends from China to come together under one roof to run this event. Clearly, in an era were multidisciplinary management of our patients is the norm and industry sponsorship is becoming increasingly scarce, we believe this offers an unique opportunity to think outside the box and put together a programme of benefit to all the societies. Please place 14-16 October 2020 in your diary as I can assure you of a fantastic educational and social extravaganza in Belfast as we bring together Chinese and UK Upper GI Surgery. I would personally like to thank Prof Ashley Dennison, Prof Jian Zhou, Mr Wen Chung and Mr Eyad Issa for all the help in developing a vital link with our colleagues in China.

In my last report, I mentioned the SSL posts associated with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the various charities. I am delighted to announce that Mr Keith Roberts from Birmingham has been appointed as the Pancreatic Cancer SSL in association with AUGIS, PCUK and PCRF. Professor Tim Underwood has been appointed the Oesophageal Cancer SSL in association with AUGIS and Heartburn UK. Both have a vision of creating a Nationwide Research Collaborative and I wish them every success. We are continuing to work with Bowel Cancer UK to create a further SSL in the area of liver metastatic disease so watch this space.

Our dynamic trainees continue to be involved in collaborative research with projects including RICOCHET, upper GI Delphi and HPB Delphi. A plenary session will be held in Liverpool for all such research and I will work closely with the SSLs to ensure that our trainees have the floor!

Finally can I offer my thanks to Helen Riley for her help with the websites, conferences and social media. She ensures that we attempt to trend on twitter at each conference. My report would never be complete without mentioning the main foundations of our society. Nichola and Sarvjit continue to serve this society with dedication, loyalty and commitment. They put their heart and soul into ensuring that each conference is astounding! Thanks Ladies.

Therefore, I hope, in some small way, I have helped to answer the question ‘why join AUGIS?’ Please spread the word to colleagues who are not members. We are better together than apart! I look forward to seeing everyone in Liverpool.

Mr Mark Taylor
Education and Training & Research Lead


July  2018

Since my last report, we have continued to enjoy successful conferences. BOMSS Conference was held in Telford in January which saw many delegates enjoy an exciting conference. This follows on the back of an extremely successful IFSO 2017 conference, which has firmly placed the UK & Ireland bariatric surgeons at the forefront of developments in surgery for obesity in Europe.

The Great Britain & Ireland Hepatobiliary Association (GBIHPBA) enjoyed an excellent international conference in Leamington Spa in March. This conference was unique in that we had a delegation from China under the leadership of Prof Fan from Shanghai. Both local delegates and our international friends enjoyed a ‘combined’ learning environment and this pathed the way for further collaborative projects.

We were also fortunate to have Prof Maddern from Adelaide present a keynote lecture on What we do not know about Hepatobiliary Surgery. He also entertained us with the details of the new hospital build in Adelaide which is now regarded as the most expensive hospital in the world. This was a fascinating insight into planning and executing a new hospital using private finance initiatives. Another highlight was the Precision Pancreas talk from Prof Biankin from Glasgow. The conference concluded with an international debate, which looked at issues and opportunities in surgical training in China, Australia and the UK. I would personally like to thank Ashley Dennison (President, GBIHPBA) and Professors Fan and Zhou from Shanghai for ensuring an excellent meeting.

Looking forward, I am delighted to announce some key features of the forthcoming annual AUGIS Conference, which will be held in Edinburgh from 19 – 21 September. It is particularly important to note that on the Wednesday morning there will be a training day for all trainees in upper GI, HPB and bariatric surgical training. The main conference starts this year on Wednesday afternoon rather than Thursday morning and it will run until Friday lunchtime. A tremendous amount of effort has gone into ensuring a superb programme for this meeting. I am grateful to our local organisers Mr Graeme Cooper and Mr Peter Lamb and our president, Richard Hardwick, for their assistance in helping deliver an excellent programme.

I am delighted to welcome Mr Don Low from Seattle as well as Prof Takeshi-Sano from Tokyo to the conference this year. Both these world leaders have rearranged their diaries to allow a visit to the AUGIS Conference and for that I am extremely grateful. The conference in September precedes a major Edinburgh OG and HPB Fellow reunion on the Saturday, 22 September 2018. As a result, we have a host of international speakers, who are arriving not just for the reunion, but also to attend the AUGIS conference. I am delighted to confirm that the following faculty will be speaking prior to attending the Fellows reunion – Mr Brendan Visser from Stanford University, Prof John Windsor from Auckland, Prof. Rob Padbury from Adelaide, Prof. Kees Dejong from Maastricht University and Mr Saxon Connor from Christchurch.

The conference dinner will be held in the fabulous National Museum of Scotland on the Thursday evening. I can assure everyone that this will be a night to remember so please book early!

In my last report I mentioned the discussions in relation to Research Leads associated with the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the various charities.

An advertisement went out to all members and we aim to shortlist and interview for a pancreatic cancer research lead (joint initiative between AUGIS, Pancreatic Cancer UK (PCUK) and Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (PCRF)). We will be also interviewing for a research lead for oesophago-gastric cancer, co-funded with Heartburn Cancer UK.

We are continuing to discuss the possibility of a liver research lead with various charities, as well as the Royal College of Surgeons.

I do believe that such joint collaboration in terms of the research profile of AUGIS linked to various charities is a very positive one and in association with The Royal College of Surgeons will bear fruit in the not too distant future.

You may have noticed requests over the past year to complete surveys or sign up for collaborative studies. The majority of such activities have been driven by our trainees. I would ask if you would continue to support this activity which is excellent for all concerned. Projects such as the Upper GI DELPHI process, HPB DELPHI Process and RIOCHET to name but a few.

Finally can I once again pay tribute to Helen Riley for her help with the websites, conferences and social media. She is a star! And no report would be complete without recognition of my ‘two rocks’, Nichola and Sarvjit who are an absolute joy to work with. Their dedication, support and commitment to ensuring successful conferences is astounding! Thanks Ladies.

I look forward to welcoming everyone in Edinburgh for what will be a fantastic celebration of upper GI, hepatobiliary & bariatric surgery in UK and Ireland.

Mr Mark Taylor
Education and Training & Research Lead


January 2018

2017 was another busy year for AUGIS! In my summer report, we reflected on the excellent BOMMS meeting in January, quickly followed by the EGMLLS meeting in association with EHPBA and ILS in February and the fantastic turnout for the AUGIS sessions at the annual ASGBI conference in Glasgow in May.

In September we held our annual conference in Cork. This was one of our most successful conferences in terms of the educational programme, social activities, conference venue and great “Irish” hospitality. We were delighted to have a joint opening address from Professor Derek Alderson (President RCS England) and Professor John Hyland (President of RCS Ireland). It is good to know that irrespective of what happens with Brexit, the UK and Ireland surgical family is secure and the links between Societies and Colleges intact.

Following on from the extensive discussions that took place during the bile duct injury symposium at ASGBI Glasgow in May, we decided to have a debate on “this house believes that emergency laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the way forward in dealing with cholecystitis”. We were highly entertained by the two speakers, a past-President of AUGIS, Prof Graeme Poston, and Mr Barry Clements, my colleague from Belfast. Barry won the day despite a gallant effort on the part of Graeme.

Our two International speakers, Prof Richard Van Hillegersberg and Prof Marc Besselink gave superb presentations on minimally invasive procedures in their respective fields of expertise. Other highlights included the parallel sessions in which topics such as precision surgery (Tim Underwood), HCC management (Nigel Heaton), neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy in pancreatic cancer (Ross Carter) and bariatric surgery – does it matter? (Jim Byrne). The final recommendations from the European Laparoscopic HPB Consensus meeting were presented by Prof Mo Abu-Hilal whilst Mr Colm O’Boyle highlighted current issues relating to bariatric surgery. All will agree that concluding the meeting with talks by ex-Lions, Ireland and Ulster rugby player Trevor Ringland and Aer Lingus pilot and past surgical registrar, Captain Niall Downey, was the perfect ending to a highly successful conference. It would be remiss of me at this stage not to thank Mr Adrian O’Sullivan (local organiser) and our own Sarvjit and Nichola for the vast amount of work they put in to ensuring that the meeting was successful.

The year also saw with the hugely popular IFSO 2017 Meeting which took place in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference in central London (29 Aug – 2 Sept) – attracting bariatric surgeons and specialists from around the globe as well as the UK. With its varied and comprehensive scientific programme and pre-congress courses, along with the historic location and co-operative late summer weather, IFSO 2017 was one of the most successful IFSO conferences yet. More about IFSO 2017 later on in this newsletter.

Looking to this year, BOMSS will be in Telford for its Annual Scientific Meeting from 25 – 26 January – find out more at: www.bomss.org.uk/2018conference . The GBIHPBA will return to Chesford Grange Hotel, Leamington Spa from 15 – 16 March – find out more at: www.gbihpba.org.uk/2018conference . AUGIS will contribute to the ASGBI Annual Conference in Liverpool from 9 – 11 May and the AUGIS annual conference will be held in Edinburgh from 19 to 21 September. This conference will run into a very special event (22nd September) in which past Edinburgh OG and HPB Fellows from all over the world will gather to recognise the massive contribution to surgery made by Mr Simon Paterson-Brown and Prof James Garden. Such an international gathering will greatly enhance the educational programme of the AUGIS conference.

I would like to bring you up to date about the research lead post I mentioned in the summer newsletter. There have been extensive discussions in Council about the role, requirements and links for such a position. We are extremely keen to maintain our link with the Royal College of Surgeons of England. We have also explored the possible collaboration with various charities akin to our specialist interests. Once such discussions have completed we will be writing to all members again. Can I thank the four members who have already expressed an interest in the post. We envisage a research lead for each of the sub-specialities represented within the family of AUGIS.

Mr Mark Taylor
Education and Training & Research Lead