The 84th Annual Meeting of the British Association of Dermatologists took place in Belfast 6th - 9th July 2004.
Report by Dr Adrian Hegarty (Birmingham)
What a pleasant change! The BAD in Northern Ireland. I suspect many of us had not visited Belfast and so this year’s meeting was the ideal opportunity, combining a taster of some of the sights on offer including the splendid conference centre on the Waterfront (sounds like Marlon Brando should have been around!). The format this year kicked off with the now popular residents’ day on the Monday. This was a very well attended session on bullous diseases and immunofluorescence organised by Professor Wojnarowska and Vicky Lewis. The speakers demonstrated the practicalities of the techniques used in diagnosing immunobullous conditions and the relationship between the clinical picture and the molecular changes in the skin. At the end of the session the trainees were tested on antigens, antibodies in different "real life" clinical scenarios.
On the Tuesaday I attended the clinicopath session which culminated in the entertaining Neil Smith Lecture given by Professor Bernie Ackerman. One of our trainees came away spellbound after hearing the guest speaker at the Paediatric session, Professor Anhalt, talking about his experience in management of bullous diseases in children, including biologics – the new emerging therapies for recalcitrant and life threatening situations. The afternoon session was coloured by two splendid lectures, one by Professor Mark Ferguson who presented data on his new preparation to reduce scarring, while Professor Williams held everyone with his exposition on Cochrane reviews.
That evening we were spoiled when, Meg Price, our retiring President, hosted a wonderful reception at the modern complex of Odyssey. We enjoyed champagne while chatting to friends old and new about day to day life in dermatology.
The Wednesday kicked off with the AGM, always an event worthy of attendance and never more so under the presidency of Meg Price, ably supported by Mark Goodfield and Steve Jones. The politics boiled, the empire grew and we all knew we had been carefully looked after over the year. I think all of us were eager to see the new BAD house. It is as well that the post of president is in the capable stewardship of Professor Griffiths for the forth coming year. The results of the nationwide Roaccutane audit and the dedicated bed survey were discussed. This sort of information is what we really need to maintain our speciality, co-ordinated by our national body.
My particular joy was as always the Posters. There is always something to interest or amuse, and this year was no exception. I especially liked the historical posters including one entertaining exposition on scurvy to complement a further poster of a case report.
It is perhaps disappointing that the BDNG meeting was held away from the main meeting and so we saw less of our dermatology nursing colleagues.
The rest of my day was largely occupied by a meeting of the BJD editorial board. Our SpRs reported back how they had enjoyed a presentation given by the St John’s group, describing 25 years of prenatal testing for inherited skin disorders.
I am afraid it was then off to Lisburn to a small but delightful fishery for the annual Ive Piscatorial Award competition. Modesty prohibits me from expounding too much on the outcome save for the fact that for the first time joint honours were awarded for two fish of equal weight caught independently! My thanks to Dr Ive for perpetuating this most social of sports, and to Leo Pharma for their support. Indeed I should thank all our friends old and new for their financial help in staging our annual meeting.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend much of the proceedings on the Thursday due to a commitment with Marie Curie Cancer Care promoting sun awareness in London that night.
As always there was a profusion of material and events to which I could not go. May I extend our thanks to the Scientific committee, the organising committee and the local organisers for having excelled with such a superb and memorable meeting.