Winter Meeting – President’s closing comments
Tim Goodacre reflects on another successful BAPRAS Winter Scientific Meeting

8th December 2011

The BAPRAS Winter Meeting has now concluded and once again we have seen the advancement of the science and understanding of Plastic Surgery on a profound and encouraging level.

More than 100 papers were presented by world leading experts, and over 400 Plastic Surgeons attended the meeting over the three days to discuss and debate, and – perhaps equally importantly – make new connections amidst a lively and stimulating atmosphere. The papers presented by UK trainees were of a very high standard, with the number of submissions this year making acceptance a high hurdle, and a mark of achievement for those participating.

As you will see from the news round-up of the meeting, highlights were numerous but included fresh insights on breast reconstruction, treating burns victims, lower limb transplantation, craniofacial surgery, body contouring surgery following massive weight loss and plastic surgery’s future role in treating injured men and women in the armed forces.

The conference also offered a chance to reflect on the past year’s achievements of BAPRAS as an Association, as the only statutory organisation representing the whole speciality of plastic surgery, listening and speaking with a myriad number of committees and bodies on which we provide input; we are the voice of Plastic Surgery. I feel further great strides have been achieved here, which were in evidence at the meeting and which are also demonstrated by the content being generated on this website by members.

Our prime raison d’être as an organisation is to ‘promote the best evidence-based practice in Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery in order to achieve the highest standard of patient care through professional support in education, research and the development of knowledge’. This year we have instituted the President’s Prize as the highest achievement for our finest and best researchers – to give due recognition to that vision for our speciality. This year’s winner was Thet Su Win for her groundbreaking research into the difficult area of chronic transplant rejection, which will truly advance work in this area.

Our new education ‘flagship’ as an organisation is the e-learning initiative, eLPRAS, which we were delighted to be able to launch at the meeting. It has been developed by BAPRAS (particular thanks to Sarah Pape for all her hard work) in partnership with the Department of Health scheme ‘e-Learning for Healthcare’. It will offer over 900 learning modules and the first set of sessions are now online: I hope that many more members will come forward and volunteer to help ensure that modules are written to the highest standard and as soon as possible.

Plastic Surgeons are increasingly being found at the centre of multi-disciplinary teams in the NHS, able to help patients overcome medical problems of both form and function. This is where our skills are best used and it is critical we ensure that patients across the UK have access to the life changing plastic surgery techniques that we have seen showcased at the meeting.

British Plastic Surgery has a great reputation for offering the highest standard of care, and our craft also gives us an international language which crosses all boundaries. The Winter Meeting was well attended by trainees as well as long standing surgeons and it is very encouraging to see the great pool of talent up and coming that will ensure the art and science of Plastic Surgery continues to be driven forward, alongside service development to enable patient access to all we do.

There is much work ahead for the new year, and I am grateful for the constructive thoughts and criticism that you all offer to help us in the best direction of travel. Please do write, blog, tweet (!) or contact us in any way if you have things to say, contribute, and especially are able to engage more with the tasks in hand. We now turn our attention already to the next Summer Meeting, which Rick Milner will be hosting in Newcastle from 11th to 13th July. Rick has a superb programme forming, with much for all to enjoy and be stimulated by, and I hope to see many of you in that vibrant city of innovation and enterprise

Best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year

Tim Goodacre
President, 2011

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