The first All Ireland Regional AUGIS Conference took place in May. The event started with a dinner on the Wednesday night at which members of Council, local faculty and guests from Southern Ireland were welcomed by Junior Minister Bell from the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (Stormont).
The Thursday began with an introduction from Mr Edwin Poots MLA (Health Minister) followed by an affiliate session (30 delegates) co-ordinated by Sister Alex McAfee (HPB CNS) and a trainee masterclass (38 delegates) run by Ms Claire Jones. Dr Joan Regan (palliative care) inspired the affiliate members to strive for excellence in the management of cancer patients with a complex range of symptoms. The masterclass covered many aspects of emergency Upper GI surgery as well as the opportunity to practice laparoscopic suturing and haemorrhage control.
The main conference attracted more than 100 delegates including speakers. Our President-Elect, Mr Ian Beckingham and Mr Mark Regan (Galway) set an excellent tone for the meeting by addressing the issue of “Cholecystectomy, a specialist operation?” This was followed by superb presentations and lively debate from Roger Ackroyd, Martin Eatock (Oncology), Inder Mainie (Belfast) and Prof Kevin Conlon (Dublin). The Chief Medical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Michael McBride concluded day one by highlighting the many cross-border initiatives being undertaken with regard to health.
Our president, Mr Bill Alum hosted the Gala Dinner on the Thursday evening in the Presidential Suite of the Europa with its fabulous panoramic views of Belfast. Fine wine, fine food and a riveting after-dinner presentation from Mr Trevor Ringland (retired British and Irish Lions international rugby player) ended the first day on a high.
The Friday kicked off with several hot topics delivered by Kevin Conlon, Richard Charnley (Newcastle), Prof John Reynolds (Dublin) and Adrian O’Sullivan (Cork). A session addressing surgical complications followed with presentations from Prof David Kerrigan (Chester), Giles Toogood (Leeds) and Simon Dexter (Leeds). The finale of this fantastic two-day initiative was left to the Presidents! Professor Freddie Wood (President of the Irish Medical Council) addressed the issue of surgical outcomes and lessons learnt from cardiac surgery followed by Mr Bill Alum’s assessment of Quality Assurance in Upper GI surgery.