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Presidents message Feb 2020

President’s message February 2020

As we head into the 2020s, the British Hernia Society is looking forward to its next meeting which will be held in Newport, South Wales in November 2020.  This meeting has been organised by Brian Stephenson our treasurer, and David Sanders our research secretary, aided and abetted by Vicky Grant  The conference will address groin pain following hernia repair, a session on primary ventral hernias, a BHS quiz, training prizes and presentations, a session on incisional hernias and outcomes from hernia repair and we will also hear from our research grant recipients as to their progress.  We look forward to seeing you all at the meeting and encourage you to spread the word amongst your trainees and colleagues.  We have kept the conference fee as low as we can to encourage you all to attend.  We rely heavily on our generous industry partners so as to keep our costs low.

The board has been enlarged with the addition of Stella Smith from Manchester, and Oroog Ali who is the trainee representative and the treasurer of ASiT.  Part of the work Stella has undertaken is to draw up a new constitution and new by laws for our board positions.  Oroog is an important asset for the BHS with her strong connection to ASiT and to trainees. She has promoted the BHS through ASiT and run a survey on twitter focusing on trainees needs in relation to hernia training. They are both excellent additions to the board. There will be Board Member Elections again later this year and we encourage you to consider applying.

Brian Stephenson continues as our stalwart Treasurer and the finances of the society are healthy.  We were lucky enough to increase our funds following our meetings in Newcastle and Edinburgh, and we hope to do so again following our meeting in Newport in November.

Because of our healthy financial situation, we were able to advertise further research grants in 2018 and 2019 and we aim to do so again within the next month. Further information will be available via our website in the near future.

The BHS website has been enlarged and a lot more information is now available on the site.  We did have issues with the re-registration process which have now been resolved out so it should be easier for you to re-register.  Please remember that membership of the British Hernia Society is FREE, so I would absolutely encourage you to get your colleagues and your trainees to join this society.

We have increased the information available on the website particularly with respect to guidelines and patient information on hernia repair. We wish to publicise hernia courses which are available throughout the UK so if you run a hernia course and would like to advertise on the website please get in touch with our education secretary Mr Aman Bhargava.

The BHS Board agreed to co-opt Professor Dermot Hehir, RCSI to encourage more collaboration between Irish and British hernia surgeons.  We look forward to working together with Professor Hehir on common themes over the next few years.

The mesh debate continues, and we await the Baroness Julia Cumberlege report on gynaecological mesh due out in March 2020. The Scottish Health Technologies Group report for the Scottish government came out in favour of the use of mesh in inguinal hernia repair in males, in January 2020. It is important for hernia surgeons to be aware of this report and it is on our website for easy reference. These reports may well influence our use of mesh and the discussions we have with our patients.

The establishment of a hernia registry remains an important aim of our society. We have contacted the Danish Hernia Registry Team and had our first meeting with them at the BHS Meeting in Hamburg last year. Al Windsor, Stella Smith, Duncan Light and I are working together as a “BHS Hernia Registry” group to further the introduction of a national hernia registry.  We have also had discussions with industry bodies to work out how we can fund a registry in the UK and Ireland. We hope to have more information about this before our meeting in November.

Conferences this year include the recent AWR Europe Meeting in February run by Al Windsor in London, the EHS Conference is in Barcelona in May, and our BHS conference is in Newport, Wales in November 2020.  Our secretary Ali Sheen continues to organise our next collaborative meeting with the European Hernia Society Conference in Manchester in May 2022.

As a relatively young society we are keen to recruit as many newcomers as possible, please do your best to encourage others to join the BHS.  I am halfway through my two-year term as president and feel as if I have just started because there is so much to do! We continue to work for the benefit of our members and our patients, and I am grateful to those who have contributed to the BHS over the past year to improve outcomes for our patients.

Best wishes

Mr Liam Horgan

President BHS

February 2020