Mr Nick Maynard
I am writing this on my way back from a short visit to Aberdeen where we have been finalising some of the arrangements for our annual conference in September. The venue is a fantastic purpose-built Conference Centre, with more than enough hotel accommodation for all of us within easy walking distance. Andy Smith and his Education Committee are putting together a brilliant academic programme, and as always, I am in no doubt that the meeting will be wonderfully social, providing a great opportunity to meet up with friends. We do intend for the meeting to be hybrid, and there will be a virtual component for those who cannot come, but with such great memories of our meeting in Belfast last October still fresh in our minds, I really hope that all of you will come to Aberdeen for the meeting. It might seem a long way to come, but the Conference Centre is close to Aberdeen airport and there are many flights coming in each day from all over the United Kingdom and from Ireland as well. The success of our meetings depends entirely upon you, our members
Although COVID has not disappeared, it is clearly having a far lesser impact on hospital services, and most of us will hopefully have returned to a more normal working life, albeit having to help clear some of the enormous waiting lists that have built up over the last couple of years. I am really conscious of the impact of COVID on surgical training over the last two years, and despite the brilliant Webinar programme put on by Andy Smith and his Training and Education Committee, it is clear from last year’s GMC National Training Survey we have much work to do. Although the “apprenticeship” model remains a core part of how we train, we need to do more to embrace video analysis and laparoscopic simulation into our training. This will be a significant theme of our meeting in Aberdeen.
We recently sought expressions of interest from the AUGIS Membership to help set up our EDI (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion) Committee. I was absolutely delighted with the response, and I will be asking those who have expressed an interest to set up a working party to develop a detailed programme of how we plan to tackle these issues. As you will know from our recent EGM, we are very close to finalising our negotiations regarding the separation of BOMSS from AUGIS, and our recently constituted AUGIS Bariatric Group will play a major role in defining our future working relationship with BOMSS in a collaborative and complementary way. I am in no doubt that this specialty group will mature and evolve in a similar way to our other specialty groups which have transformed AUGIS into a very different and ever improving association!
Stuart Andrews and Kirk Bowling of BBUGSS (British Benign Upper GI Surgical Society) have agreed that BBUGSS should move fully into the AUGIS infrastructure as the benign surgical group in AUGIS. Benign surgery undoubtedly comprises the biggest section of AUGIS, and I am delighted that Stuart and Kirk are as keen as we are for BBUGSS to be fully incorporated into AUGIS. BBUGSS will of course retain its own identity within AUGIS, in a similar way to our other specialty groups, and they will be responsible for drawing up guidelines and setting standards in benign upper GI surgery, working with Council and other specialty groups as appropriate. Many of you will be familiar with the impressive National Hiatal Surgery Registry (NHSR) that Stuart and colleagues have developed, and we have also agreed that AUGIS will take over ownership and running of the registry through BBUGSS and an NHSR Committee. Stuart has kindly agreed to join AUGIS Council to lead on this integration once he demits as President of BBUGSS.
We are always seeking to improve AUGIS and at our recent Council meeting I reminded all Council members, and particularly our Allied Health Professional and Regional Representatives that we must engage as much as possible with our members, through networking and meetings. There have been some great examples of regions joining together for meetings, and we want to see regional Consultant, AHP and Roux representatives all working together to ensure that every single healthcare worker in the United Kingdom and Ireland knows what AUGIS is all about and wants to join!
I look forward to seeing you all in Aberdeen in September – it will be our 25th meeting since AUGIS was born in 1997, so let’s make sure we make it the biggest and best AUGIS meeting ever!
President of AUGIS