National Research Collaborative Meeting 2014


The 2014 National Research Collaborative Meeting was held on 5th December in the beautiful setting of Cardiff’s Millennium Centre. The meeting attended by over 100 delegates proved to be the largest and most exciting meeting to date. The event was greatly enhanced by the presence of both regional and speciality groups and really added to the presentations and questions asked during the event.

The days programme was packed and extremely ambitious but with speakers keeping to time, all was achieved! The morning session focused upon the reporting of in progress or completed audit and research projects that have been conducted at a national level across the specialities. It is testament to the growing trend and effectiveness of collaborative research models that GlobalSurg presented on their international data collection process and aims for ongoing research; surgical research collaboration is certainly a force for world domination! The morning session finished with an enlightening talk by Ms Adele Francis focusing upon the opportunities for research in the field of Breast surgery with a great emphases on the trainee led projects which are currently being supported.

The midmorning session was opened by the conferences international speaker Professor Willem Bemelman who gave a very entertaining account of the Netherlands experience of collaborative research. There were plenty of take home messages as well as considering incorporating more dynamic conference entertainment at NRCM 2015! Following on from this was a very informative talk about the IDEAL collaboration and how to incorporate their research structure into newly developed projects. Professor David Beard provided us a great deal of information regarding IDEAL and how to contact the collaboration for help with research.

The afternoon session opened with the much anticipated sandpit session, led by Mr Simon Bach and Mr Tom Pinkney. Learning from the experiences at London in 2013 the meeting delivered a more interactive session; it attempted to blend experience and speciality to allow the groups to generate potential research projects based around the hot topic of frailty in emergency surgery. The session generated some excellent ideas and allowed all involved to receive some tuition and pointers about creating a large scale audit or research project. One important message learnt by all is that simplicity and a focused research question really is key!

The delegates then had opportunity to split into three grade appropriate sessions to focus on the role of research at each stage of their surgical career. Medical students and foundation doctors received an excellent talk from Professor Derek Alderson focused upon combing research with the early stages of their career and from current academic trainees, with personal perspectives of being an academic trainne from Mr Vimal Gokani and Mr Matt Jefferies. Core trainees learnt about the Research fellowship scheme on offer from the Royal College from Martyn Coomer and from a personal perspective from Mr James Ansell who benefited from such a fellowship. Ms Rachel Hargest presented the benefits seen from BASO and how surgical research is benefiting cancer care across the UK. The registrar session focused upon balancing academic with clinical work at consultant level from Dr Andrew Cook. Dr Julia Dickinson introduced the work of the Medical Research Council, with information regarding the Academy of Medical Sciences provided by Dr Rachel McDonald. This was a particularly interactive session, allowing for a great Q and A session which was informative to all.

The event was closed by a dynamic debate entitled ‚ this house believes that randomised controlled trials are not the optimal method to deliver surgical care. Our speakers for the motion being Mr Chris Twine and Aneel Bhangu and against it Mr Chris Morris and Dave Bosanquet. The hotly contested debate saw our delegates vote against the motion to conclude the event.

The event was not only the most ambitious to date but was the first to use a smartphone app, generated by the organising committee, to allow delegates to view the programme and abstracts well before the event. Twitter was also used much more effectively in the lead up to the event as well on the day generating over 150 tweets using #NRCM2014.

Feedback completed showed that delegates were from all the surgical specialties except maxillofacial, with 66% from general surgery. 57% of delegates were Specialist Trainees Year 3+, 16% were Core Trainees, 8% were Foundation Doctors and 5% were Medical Students, with the rest comprising Consultants and Other Health Care Professionals. 57% had not attended a previous National Research Collaborative Meeting and 16% were not associated with a collaborative. 100% felt inspired to get involved with collaborative projects in the future. 98% felt comfortable to bring ideas forward to the‚ sandpit‚ trial design session. 96% found the‚ Academia and your career‚ sessions helpful for their level of training.

The event was made possible by all the help and collaboration from the research groups across the country and as organisers, we would like to thank all that attended and presented. We would especially like to thank all our guest speakers who have demonstrated how well collaboration can work and how this is becoming accepted as a method to generate quality surgical research. The event would not be possible however without our sponsors (KCI, Covidien, Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, BASO, RCSEng, RCSEd, MPS, Welsh Surgical Society, WWORTH, Nortth West Surgical Trials Centre, NISCHR) ; without their generosity this event could not have been provided to delegates for free.

From an exhausted but immensely proud Welsh Barbers committee we wish all those involved with #NRCM2015 all the best‚ Sheffield we are excited already!

A Stimpson, RL Harries, N Tanner, J Cornish on behalf of the Welsh Barbers Society