The 95th Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists took place in Manchester 7th - 9th July 2015.
Report by Mark Griffiths
Manchester Central provided a warm reception for the 95th Annual Meeting in July this year. Somewhat less
warm was the changeable weather, with several seasons represented in the same day. Walking to the shops in the driving rain to purchase an umbrella was one of my first activities, and you would have thought, growing up in Cumbria, I might have remembered a coat too! When the showers abated, shards of light broke through the fast moving low clouds, illuminating the magnificent buildings around the venue. A great start to the Annual Meeting… and an atmospheric nod to the World Health Organisation’s year of light.
Weather aside, and with the usual consistency, Christopher Garrett and the conference team once again delivered a fantastic Annual Meeting, building on the successes of previous years. This year saw a record 1,263 delegates, continuing on the upward trend seen over the past four years, and with attendees travelling from 27 different countries, including 7 from Australia, 5 from New Zealand and 11 from India. A truly international meeting! The conference has been a challenge for the past couple of years for me, fulfilling Officer commitments but also trying to maximise my attendance at the sessions. Monday, as usual, started with the Specialty and Associate Specialist Sub-Committee Meeting, one of my favourite committees and a good start to the meeting. This was followed by the Speciality and Associate Specialist session. Once again Glenda Hill and the organising committee put on a great programme focussed on practical tips for everyday practice. At the same time the Trainee session was underway and luckily, whilst walking through The Gallery area, I bumped in to some of our current and previous SpRs having coffee in their designated break. It was a great opportunity to catch up on news and assimilate some of their newly acquired knowledge! The rest of the day was spent planning how to spend my time at the meeting which I always find immensely difficult.
Tuesday, spoilt for choice, I attended the British Society for Cutaneous Allergy session. The Prosser White Oration delivered by Professor Magnus Bruze entitled ‘So you think you know how to patch test?’ did exactly what the title suggests and preceded a lively discussion about ironing water and ironing in general which went a bit off topic! After the break I went to the International Psoriasis Council – Meet The Expert session which was full of practical information on managing challenging psoriasis. The room was packed and the session generated lots of debate.
Wednesday saw the introduction of a new International CPD Session with experts drawn from France, USA and Switzerland. This was followed by the AGM which seemed to flow harmoniously. In the afternoon, the British Cosmetic Dermatology Group session, which was a personal highlight, was brimming with attendees and for me addressed an important subject area previously missing from our Annual Meetings.
On Thursday Professor Masayuki Amagai delivered the Arthur Rook Oration on Targeting antigen-specific immune cells. Throughout his colourful presentation it was fascinating to hear how our understanding of immunology, through his research, is evolving over time. Later in the afternoon Professor Chris Griffiths, the Sir Archibald Gray Medal recipient, gave an inspiring talk entitled Psoriasis: A Natural History.
So, whilst Officer commitments meant that a significant proportion of my time at the conference was spent at meetings, I am pleased that I had the opportunity to attend as many of the sessions as I did. I also found time to view the posters in the exhibition hall which played host to the popular hot topic sessions and the new poster presentations.
I have taken home key messages to improve my practice and also inspiration for further learning.
I found this year’s venue particularly conducive to fortuitous meetings. It was great to be able to catch up with colleagues and friends. This year’s meeting reiterates to me what a privilege it is to be a part of UK dermatology. For me, the only disappointment is the absence of the Dermatology Nurses. I look forward to next year’s meeting in Birmingham. Thank you to Professor Irene Leigh, Christopher Garret and the conference team for putting together such a successful and notable meeting.