The 94th Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists took place at the SECC Glasgow 1st - 3rd July 2014.
Report by Karen Gibbon (London)
My overwhelming impression of this year’s very comprehensive BAD meeting in Glasgow was really positive. As a jobbing dermatologist I value the opportunity of being able to benchmark my practice to that of colleagues from across
the UK as well as Europe and Asia. I have visited Glasgow and the conference venue on several occasions. However, this time the atmosphere in the City was really alive and buzzing, but I suspect that this had something to do with the imminent start of the Commonwealth Games rather than the arrival of a few hundred enthusiastic dermatologists! Nevertheless, by arriving early I was able to spend a wonderful Monday afternoon soaking up the atmosphere walking around the botanical gardens and strolling along the banks of the River Kelvin and having some brief retail therapy.
Before the conference starts I usually find it helpful to plan my programme of educational events and found using the BAD app a great first experience. I would strongly recommend that anyone coming to a conference brings their tablet or iPad and use such apps. I found I could easily set up a full and productive day and in my spare few minutes I was able to view the poster abstracts and then go and read the relevant ones in more detail during the breaks. However, using it to take meaningful notes was challenging and I soon learnt to switch off auto-suggest and auto-complete pretty quickly to make any sense of what I’d written! A slight irritation was that I couldn’t export my notes as a single document (on which I could also add my reflections of the meeting for my PDP) – perhaps this could be addressed for next year’s conference app? – or maybe the right ‘techie person’ could have a quiet word with me about how to do it?
The absence of nurses at the meeting this year was, for me, a bonus and I found it much easier to talk to the exhibitors and sponsors more effectively. I still enjoyed collecting my samples and goody bags, but felt everything was much less rushed. However, I have my doubts about the wisdom of having different talks simultaneously scheduled in the same exhibition space as I found I could not concentrate at all at these events and gave them a miss. I also found the Pharma Regulatory Focus session rather unsatisfactory. It was generally poorly attended and I thought the content very dry in contrast to last year’s excellent session. I did, however, enjoy Sir Ian Kennedy’s talk without the distraction of powerpoint slides.
The AGM is an integral part of the BAD meeting and lively discussions were had particularly around the issue of subscription rates for different categories of members. However, to my mind, the outstanding event was Professor Bunker’s excellent speech explaining where we’ve come from, where we are now and where we might want to be in the future. He richly deserved the standing ovation he received. As a member of the BAD’s Clinical Services Unit I can only corroborate how sad it is to see how many of our members are struggling and in real conflict with hospital managers and CCGs who are trying to destabilise their services.
More positively, I thought that a great addition to this year’s programme was the contribution made by the newly formed British Society for Skin Care in Immunocompromised individuals. This, combined with the various biologics updates, symposia and case reports, really opened my eyes again to the importance of screening patients very carefully for infections and ensuring that adequate surgical margins are performed for skin cancers in high risk patients. The new format of the BAD meeting means that social events such as the BSF evening walk have been omitted which, I confess, I miss. However, it was good to note the presence of several consultant colleagues who once attended my clinics and wrote audits and case reports as medical students and registrars. Inspiring and teaching the next generation of students and doctors to become dermatologists is a great privilege and I wish to personally thank three great teachers in Professors Cunliffe, Marks and Leigh all of whom have been tremendously supportive to me.
What will I do differently as a result of attending the BAD 2014 conference? Pay my subscription for the British Senior Skin Group; play mindfulness tapes in phototherapy to shorten time to clearance in psoriasis; keep more up to date with the genetics of skin disease and continue to press for proper nursing support to keep running BADBIR within my hospital.