By Ms Sarika Nalagatla, Urology Speciality Registrar, University Hospital Monklands.
The BAUS 76th Annual Meeting ran again in a superbly organised virtual format given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Running over three days with five parallel streams, the conference was packed with lectures, BAUS section meetings, e-Poster sessions, career related sessions and online courses. This year’s theme was Global Urology, and it was the first year that BAUS invited 10 international urological societies to contribute to a joint programme, promoting diversity amongst the urology community to share their expertise and experiences. The meeting was made even more interactive this year with live discussions at the end of selected sessions.
Monday’s energising session on ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ was delivered by Baroness Helena Kennedy, Professor Farah Bhatti and Miss Susan Willis. The Kennedy Report was based on an independent review of diversity in the RCS England’s professional leadership. Baroness Kennedy emphasised the significance of having leaders of diverse backgrounds reflecting our diverse workforce. Professor Farah Bhatti explained the recommendations from the report and how these could be applied to other associations. She highlighted the importance of associations looking into their committees and ensuring that inclusion and diversity is addressed. Miss Susan Willis went onto discuss BAUS’s current activities to date and widening participation plans to implement in the future. This powerful session demonstrated the magnitude of this topical subject and how important it is to celebrate diversity. Nurturing our diverse workforce is critical to making change for the future.
TUF Trials Unit Dragon’s Den saw shortlisted contestants pitch their proposed clinical trial ideas to the Dragons Panel, consisting of Mr Tim O’Brien, Professor Grant Stewart, Professor Caroline Moore, Professor James N’Dow and Professor Graeme MacLennan. From trainees to consultants, we saw some fantastic ideas presented with the goal of ultimately improving patient care and outcomes. It was insightful watching the panel’s decision-making processes and considerations when deliberating their winners. This year’s winners were Mr Krishna Narahari for ELIPSE (Evaluation of the role of Lymphadenectomy in High Risk Prostate cancer surgery) and Miss Nikita Bhatt for STENT (Use of ureteric drainage post uncomplicated ureteroscopy) on behalf of BURST Urology. Watch this space to see how these ideas develop into trials and potentially change future clinical practice!
IBUS President, Mr Joe Philips, introduced the society’s first session at BAUS this year. Dr Soumya Swaminathan discussed COVID-19 and the need for global solidarity and genomics surveillance. Professor Kamlesh Khunti presented the Inaugural Abdul Mabud Chowdhury Lecture on ‘COVID Pandemic and its Impact on Ethnic Minority Populations’. Mr Tim Lane gave an honest and fitting talk titled “Plus ça Change”. Miss Jean MacDonald shared her wonderful and inspiring work in setting up educational workshops in Senegal in her talk ‘Fostering Training & Education through Charitable giving’. Her dedication to training and education was truly inspiring and ‘Teach one, Cure many’ really stuck with me.
BSoT covered a range of practical topics including technical excellence in core procedures and fellowships. The timely session ‘Smaller Urological World’ looked at the essentials and dangers of social media in medicine. The Urology Docs Podcast creators Mr David Bratt, Mr Mithun Kailavasan and Mr James Akman showed behind the scenes of their podcast success, with Dr Glaucomflecken making a cameo appearance. With the new urology curriculum coming into play this year, BSoT covered a vital session detailing the new changes and allowing for delegates to ask questions.
BURST gave an update on their current activities and projects including RESECT, LEARN and FIX-IT. Ms Asma Khan, Founder of Darjeeling Express, gave a truly authentic talk by sharing her life experience of bringing a group of diverse individuals together to achieve a common goal. Her passion and incredible leadership qualities shined through as she spoke about making individuals within a diverse team feel valued to give them a sense of belonging.
The first SAS Session at BAUS was chaired by Mr Nitin Shrotri and Mr Siraj Natalwala. The JCU Guest Lecture by Professor Megan Reitz titled ‘Pussycats and Tigers: Speaking up, and how to listen’, was truly fascinating. She described conversational habits in different contexts and subsequent consequences. Mr Rickaz Raheem and Mr Khaled Hozny gave their personal stories of their career journeys. They shed a light on their hurdles encountered and gave advice for those considering the CESAR pathway.
The Medical Students Session, chaired by Mr Ben Ayres, was bursting with enthusiasm from urology registrars giving their views on what inspired them to choose urology to lectures showcasing the ever-advancing use of technology in urology. Medical student elective opportunities with the aid of Uro-Link were discussed by Mr Nicholas Campain. This session was a key step in giving opportunity for medicals students to engage with the wider urology community and spark their interest in such a fantastic speciality.
I would like to extend a big thank you to the BAUS organising committee, chairs, presenters, and sponsors for delivering such an interactive and international virtual meeting. Despites the challenges faced over the 18 months, it is fantastic to see BAUS’s outstanding efforts in promoting the best of urology both in the UK and internationally. This year’s BUAS meeting has undoubtedly set the mark high for future virtual meetings, and I look forward to what BAUS 2022 will bring.