Firstly, I would like to publicly thank Richard Hardwick for all his time and effort during his time as President. He made huge efforts to engage with a wider audience, particularly the Specialist Nurses and Allied Health Professionals and this is something AUGIS Council is determined to continue.
We are soon to change our name to Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery rather than Surgeons. This is to make it clear to everyone that we very much welcome all members of our multidisciplinary teams.
But why would you want to join AUGIS? AUGIS has always provided Guidelines and produced Standards for benign and cancer patients. Even though there is little data to support much of what we do, we provide expert opinion for our Provision of Services documents which have been heavily referenced within the specialised commissioning services.
We are continuing to work with a software company called Methods Analytics to develop The Surgical Workload Outcomes Audit Database (SWORD) that uses HES data and will allow you to get your benign and cancer surgery numbers at the push of a button. This information will be invaluable for your appraisals.
Surgical patients are more commonly put into trials these days and AUGIS is very central to many of the trials and recruitment of studies. Sunflower is perhaps the best current example where gallbladder patients will be randomised to either getting a MRCP or no MRCP before laparoscopic cholecystectomy. We need 13,500 patients over five years and it seems likely that the results of this study will change the way we manage gallstone patients both in UK and around the world. We have two Surgical Specialty Leads taking these research ideas forward. It is hoped that a third will soon be appointed, more than any other Association or Society.
The trainees have transformed the old AUGISt into the new Roux Club. This group will focus on education and training as well as research. The registrar collaboratives are proving to be highly effective in trial recruitment and are fully engaged in improving the number of surgical trials. A training weekend in March is planned for all trainees with significant Industry support.
Clinical nurse specialists and Allied Health Professionals are now well represented on Council. AUGIS is providing them with a platform for education as well as an environment for professional support.
Our new website will allow for a social platform encouraging case discussion, blogs, and twitter for all our members. We hope it will also provide a true link with our industry partners.
The Council Area Representatives will be organising local training and educational meetings so that consultants, trainees, CNSs and AHPs can attend and contribute. These meetings will be organised in collaboration with local Training Programme Directors and provide an environment of interaction and learning.
Finally, our annual conference is a great chance to improve your knowledge as well as discuss clinical and work related issues with colleagues around the country. Membership of this organisation will allow reduced price registration and potential involvement in the sessions. We strongly invite you to attend these meetings and next year in Liverpool there will be a focus on emergency surgery and those that work in the field.
We are already planning a “Big” conference in 2020 in Belfast. As well as AUGIS, BOMSS and GBIHPBA, The Pancreatic Society and the EUS Users group will also join us. There will also be a large contingent of clinicians from China joining us. All very exciting.
Professor Giles Toogood