70 years of Excellence in Surgical Conference: West Midlands Surgical Society collaboration with RCSEd

70 years of Excellence in Surgical Conference: West Midlands Surgical Society collaboration with RCSEd

In collaboration with The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd), the West Midlands Surgical Society (WMSS) held another successful conference on the 4th of November 2022 at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley. This was second of two events this year – earlier being in May of 2022 at Worcester Royal Infirmary, marking the society’s 70th anniversary as a regional surgical society.

To mark this significant milestone, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight the achievements and contribution of this society to trainees and non-trainees across time; at local, regional and national levels.

Although a short piece may not be enough to capture the full picture, this is intended to provide an insight into the efforts of the society, its committee and its honourable partnership with RCSEd.

Early Years

This multispecialty, regional society was established in 1952 by Professor F. A. R. Stammers. It was created to establish an inter-speciality network aimed at trainees and consultants across the West Midlands region. In 1951, Professor Stammers held a regional meeting with several surgical consultants who were working in major hospitals in the West Midlands region. Following a regional hospital board meeting, a group of 7 co-founders was announced. Specialties included in this society were general. Thoracic, trauma, plastics and urology

On the 22nd March 1952, the first meeting of the society was held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (now known as University Hospital Birmingham – UHB); a meeting that held 6 presentations on the day, with 15 minutes of presentation for each one. In that meeting, Professor Barling was announced as president, and he remained as chair until November 1953. Following that, a president was elected annually with a secretary and a treasurer. Furthermore, it was agreed to hold two events annually- an autumn and a spring meeting.  Presidents hold a tenure of a year and are senior consultants who have promoted excellence in the region and beyond for surgical training.

Role of WMSS

Since its establishment, the society has continued to hold biannual meetings aimed at all training grades; medical students, foundation doctors, non-training doctors, surgical trainees and consultants, online during the pandemic and back to face to face now. In those meetings, the society holds a wide range of oral presentations and poster presentations.  2022 saw invited speaker presentations on Artificial Intelligence, Medico-legal aspects in surgery, Importance of Academia and Publication in surgery and last but  never the least, talk by our now college Vice-President, Professor Tim Graham, then Head of School of Surgery on ‘West Midlands HEE Post Graduate School of Surgery - what; where; why !’ West Midlands is one the largest deaneries in the country with high throughput of surgical trainees of all specialities.

Role of RCSEd

 2022 saw the society’s flagship conferences were significantly supported by the RCSEd; accrediting the conferences with   6 continuous-professional-development (CPD) points, logistical support (pre and post conference), as well to raise awareness of our society (and its events) at the regional and national stages.  The event publicity via the college website has attracted high quality submissions from outside West Midlands too taking the regional meeting to a next level. Delegates also appreciated the college merchandise!

What's next?

The West Midlands Surgical Society is continuing to improve and expand its capacity to support all grades in the West Midlands. With the expansion of the committee to incorporate roles such as Core Surgical Trainees (CST) and Foundation Year (FY) representatives, the society is determined to increase uptake of surgical training from an early stage, and to increase representation across all stages of training. Regional medical schools (Keele, Birmingham, Aston and Warwick)) were offered  eight free places  to attend to appreciate from early years the importance of surgical research and stage presentation and face  questions by the panel judges and audience.

Next Meeting and Committee Support

Our next meeting will take place in May of 2023, at the current president’s (Mr Brian Gwynn, who himself is a proud fellow of our college) home base in University Hospital North Midlands-Stafford Postgraduate Centre. We invite all training and non-training groups, including medical students, to submit abstracts and/or to attend this invaluable learning opportunity. Keynote talks include topic on Get It Right First Time (GIRFT) and Resilience for Surgeons.

We are grateful to Mr Mike Silva, director of RSA network and a past West Midlands trainee himself, Ms Una Curran and Ms Stacey Warner from the college without whose help this would not have been a success. Our humble thanks to the college has been expressed by us in supporting the new green branch of the college- Foundation Trainee Surgical Society (FTSS), by a small donation of ten per cent of the funds raised from the event to go to the FTSS.  

Dr Omar Mostafa, Core- committee member, WMSS

Mr Sriram Rajagopalan, Honorary Secretary, WMSS & Regional Surgical Advisor to RCSEd (West-Midlands)

Photo: Mr Brain Gwynn, President of the Society honoured with a medallion that has  past presidents names pinned to it. (Nov 2022).

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