As we leave another year behind and approach the New Year, it is time to reflect on the events of 2015 and give you an update of our plans for 2016.
2015 has been extremely busy for the BSGE. The highlight of the year was the Silver Jubilee Meeting which was attended by a record 630 delegates from the UK and abroad. We were privileged to have the majority of past BSGE Presidents to celebrate this occasion. The scientific and educational content of the meeting was much appreciated by the delegates. The majority of presentations were video recorded and will be made available to our members through the website in the early new year.
Other educational activities included the Cadaveric Laparoscopy Course in Oxford, the Benign Abdominal Surgery and Hysteroscopy ATSM theoretical meetings in association with the RCOG, and BSGE/Ethicon Advanced Laparoscopic Gynaecology Course for Trainees. These courses remain very popular with our members and will be repeated in 2016. Furthermore, we are starting an additional laparoscopic training course for our trainee members in association with Olympus. This, together with the BSGE/Ethicon Course, will increase the number of available spaces for the trainees from 24 to 36 in the New Year. We will also continue working with the RCOG in the organisation of national and international educational activities such as the Annual Professional Development Conference in London in November 2016 and the RCOG World Congress in Birmingham in June 2016.
We launched the Endometriosis Centres Nurses Programme in collaboration with the RCN and Endometriosis UK in March 2015 and organised a very successful study day for endometriosis nurses at the RCN in November 2015. The new endometriosis centre nurses have been offered free membership to the society for this year, and membership will be a compulsory feature from 2016. We will continue organising nurse study days for our nurse members and the next one will be during our annual scientific meeting in Cornwall in May.
For our consultant members, we have worked on setting up a national laparoscopic hysterectomy training programme (LapHyst Programme) during 2015 and ran the first Training the Trainers Course in November. Applications will be invited for the first cohort of six delegates in the early days of 2016 and this will be followed by further cohorts through the year. This is an ambitious project which aims to reduce the number of open abdominal hysterectomies in favour of the laparoscopic approach over the next few years and will be conducted in partnership with our major sponsors from the Industry.
We continued to prepare evidence based guidelines in our field; the guidelines on endometrial hyperplasia are now ready to be announced and will be launched as RCOG/BSGE Green Top Guidelines in January. Other guidelines in preparation include fluid management for hysteroscopic surgery and laparoscopy in pregnancy. We have worked with the BSGE/RCOG Menstrual Disorders Clinical Studies Group to coordinate multicentre research trials and also started developing audit tools for surgical procedures. It is expected that the online audit tools will be available during the course of the New Year.
We decided to revamp our website and chose a company to start working on a more functional website which will be easier to use. We hope the new website will be available during the course of 2016.
The number of accredited BSGE Endometriosis Centres reached 45 during 2015 and the number of episode entries exceeded 3500 during this year, making it the largest database worldwide in the field of endometriosis. The data were presented both in national and international platforms and were received with great interest. Arrangements have been put in place to improve follow up rates and we hope this will increase the scientific quality further. We anticipate the number of accredited centres will exceed the 50 landmark in 2016.
Our society continues to grow; we are now approaching a total membership number of 1000. The finances of our society remain sound and this has enabled us to continue providing a significant number of awards, bursaries and prizes to support training and promote endoscopic surgery.
We remain an influential force in the international arena; we are a corporate member of the ESGE and our Past President Professor Peter O’Donovan is its current President. We were instrumental in the organisation of the 24th Annual Congress of the ESGE in Budapest. The meeting was the biggest ever ESGE congress and was considered a huge success. We will continue to work with the ESGE to advance gynaecological endoscopic surgery both in the UK and beyond.
Our next main rendezvous will be in Cornwall where we will meet for the Annual Scientific Meeting on 17-18 May 2016. Our President-Elect Dominic Byrne and Chair of the Local Organising Committee Susie Bates are working hard to put on an exciting scientific and social programme and I have no doubt we will see many of our members there again for this occasion. We are also organising a joint meeting with the RCOG in November 2016 on ‘Contemporary Management of Fibroids’ to provide a platform to present and discuss new developments in this field.
I will be handing over the presidency to Dominic Byrne during the ASM in Cornwall but will remain an active member of the BSGE. There will be elections for the Vice President position as well as several other positions in the Council in 2016 and I encourage members to consider putting themselves forward. I have no doubt that the BSGE will continue to go from strength to strength in coming years, as more of its members contribute in its activities with the same enthusiasm.
I, together with my fellow officers and Council Members, wish you all a very happy New Year and we look forward to seeing you in one of the BSGE events in 2016.
President, British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy