Held for the first time at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh campus in Surgeons’ Quarter Edinburgh, and with sponsorship from both Simendo and LaproSurge, the conference team had hoped to attract delegates who might, in the past have found the journey to the College’s Birmingham offices difficult. As it was, the weather conditions caused significant travel problems for all concerned. One intrepid team of Surgical Care Practitioners from the Essex Cardiac Centre reached Newcastle where all trains were stopping and hired a car, so determined were they to attend the conference and there were stories of similar adventures from delegates and speakers alike.
Rather than the anticipated 80 delegates on November 19th there was a weather-related slight reduction in numbers, however this was more than compensated for by the energy in the conference hall and hospitality areas.
On the afternoon of the previous day (18.11.2022), surgical skills workshops hosted by industry partners Ethicon Education and ConMed International provided delegates with a range of practical learning opportunities. In support of the concept of practitioner safety there was a mental health and wellbeing session for everyone, and this was a theme that was further developed the following day.
On the 19th, presentations on the Surgical First Assistant role and the progress made in respect of Medical Associate Professions started off the conference following a short speech of welcome from the newly elected President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Professor Rowan Parks.
The second session of the morning enabled early researchers who had been awarded the highest scores in the abstract competition to give short podium presentations of their work.
Congratulations go to Dr Anastasia Tzatzidou for her prizewinning presentation on a quality improvement project relating to alcohol detoxification in neurological admissions.
When reflecting on the conference, Dr Tzatzaidou had positive words to share on the experience,
"The 8th FPC Annual Conference was a fantastic opportunity to broaden my knowledge about the contribution of the extended surgical team towards patient care. Presenting our work to a keen multidisciplinary team contributed to raising awareness regarding early identification of alcohol withdrawal. Winning the first prize for oral presentation at this prestigious event was an honour and has made this a memorable experience."
Congratulations also go to Anjaly Thomas whose poster explored the safety of ACP led discharge of acute surgical patients from a surgical assessment unit.
After winning the poster competition, Anjaly said, “This was a fantastic platform for us to present and discuss the new ideas, and the great encouragements we received were precious. The award was essentially motivational for me to continue to work with projects aiming to improve patient care and to extend scope of Advanced Practice in Surgery.”
Congratulations must also go to the other contributors to the poster abstract competition, it takes great courage to step outside one’s comfort zone and it was pleasing to see the interprofessional nature of the competition’s contributors.
Diathermy plume is an ever-present risk in the perioperative environment and Steve Veck’s comprehensive presentation ensured that delegates were made fully aware of the constituent elements and the hazards posed by them.
Practitioners’ health and wellbeing as a key facet of patient safety was discussed by Anna Paisley. All too often members of the extended surgical team ‘carry on’ regardless of their own needs and Anna’s presentation enhanced delegates’ appreciation of the need to care for self in order to provide safe and effective patient care.
The final session of the conference focused on the relationship between members of the extended surgical team with presentations from Marcus Taylor a specialist trainee in Cardiothoracic surgery, Juliette Murray, a consultant surgeon with considerable experience of developing and implementing the surgical care practitioner role in her health board and Nicholas Fletcher an SCP working in Urology and who chairs the Association of Surgical Care Practitioners. Each outlined their journey and the way in which members of the extended surgical team provide safe and effective patient care in their area of practice.
Prior to closing words by the new lead of the Faculty of Perioperative Care, Juliette Murray, Professor Rowan Parks, presented Mr Charlie Auld, the outgoing lead with a picture of the College buildings. Mr Auld has overseen the establishment of the Faculty and represents the interests of the non-medical assisting workforce in a variety of UK wide committees. We are indebted to him for helping to bring to fruition many aspects of professional aspirations that have, for many years seemed out of reach.
The co-convenors of the conference are indebted to the support provided by the College’s Education and Marketing teams; in particular Ilaria Marchi and Laura Davey. Looking forward to the 9th annual conference to be held in the autumn of 2023, the proposed theme is ‘Digital Healthcare in the 21st century and beyond’. It is exciting that sponsorship has already been obtained from GE Healthcare and others enabling planning to begin early in the new year.
Mrs Susan Hall and Professor Bhuvana Krishnamoorthy
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