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Future Surgery Virtual Conference

Released on - 11/11/2020

Future Surgery Virtual Conference

Future Surgery Virtual Conference 

Last month’s Future Surgery virtual conference was designed to bring together surgeons, anaesthetists and the whole perioperative team.  It was an opportunity to explore disruptive technology, connectivity, and human factors along with training and research.  The event was intended to support the transformation of the profession and the improved care and safety of patients. 

AfPP were delighted to be invited onto the Advisory Board by the RCS England to help develop an engaging and inspirational two days of education and networking.  The event was originally planned as a face to face conference, however, due to the current world situation the platform was changed in order to still deliver educational content to a wide perioperative audience.  

Our own AfPP stream of learning included some excellent speakers chosen for their in-depth knowledge of their subject matter.  

Our sessions kicked off with Gillian Arnold, Director of Tectre Limited.  Tectre focuses on supporting positive action plans within organisations to attract more women onto their technical teams. 

Gillian’s live and interactive session was about unconscious bias and looked at how unmanaged but unconscious bias can get in the way of our best intentions regarding sexism, racism and other systemically socialised thinking.  

Our next speaker was Adam Alderson. Adam survived a multiple organ transplant. He walked us through his incredible journey of a terminal diagnosis to preparing for death and begging for surgery which he survived against all odds. He is passionate about showing people how precious every day is, how mind and body can endure incredible things and how the spirit of adventure can be a driving force in life. 

In our third session Scarlett McNally, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Chantelle Rizan, ENT Research Fellow, discussed sustainability in surgery and how good preparation can reduce the use of resources.  Small changes have a big effect. Improving fitness for surgery reduces complications for patients and through shared decision making can help patients express their expectations and understand the risks. A major cause of clinical errors and poor morale is sub-optimal communication and poor teamwork.  Clear rules, protocols and expectations are required to reduce poor outcomes.  The session made it clear that every member of the team is valuable. 

Our final speaker on day one was Denise Chaffer, a registered nurse and midwife who currently holds the post of Director of Safety and Learning at NHS Resolution (formerly NHSLA).  Denise discussed the benefits of embedding a learning culture when things go wrong. Her extensive experience of working at international, national and regional level within acute and community settings has seen her deliver on major change and reconfiguration initiatives.  Her book ‘Effective Leadership, a Cure for the NHS?’ draws on her personal experiences and those of a range of other senior healthcare leaders. 

Our day two stream kicked off with a session from Prue Barry, Lead Surgical Care Practitioner at Oxford University Hospital.  Her session gave an overview of the role of technology in surgery, focussing on robotics and what it is like to work in a robotics theatre.  

We then welcomed Rob Tomlinson (RGN) of below 10,000 feet fame who gave some heart felt insight into a typical wrong site surgery (never event) and how a systems approach can improve patient safety.  Noise and distraction is a leading cause of never events but solutions other than incivility have not been offered until now.  Below 10,000 feet offers to address and give a solution to this leading cause of patient harm. Rob’s own experience with this concept, including benefits and barriers were discussed. In a recent survey of theatre staff, the results showed that over 83% believe the NHS is not doing enough to facilitate ground up change. Rob went on to discuss the difficulties introducing change from the ground up and how a hierarchical culture resists this. Rob’s presentation was an honest reflection that provided ideas on how to help the reduction of never events that happen every year across the UK

Finally, Jules Storr, founder and director, S3 Global, an infection prevention specialist and nurse who has worked in the patient safety and quality arena nationally and globally; and also provides expert advice to many organisations including the World Health Organization, delivered a session entitled Humanity, Compassion and Infection Prevention and Control: Lessons Learned from the Pandemic.  Jules is recognised as a leader in the field of infection prevention and using innovative approaches to support capacity building and the translation of evidence into practice.  She discussed how infection prevention and control (IPC) strategies must be focussed on halting microbial transmission and the subsequent harm this causes to people. IPC in all healthcare settings is a matter of safety to patients, visitors and health care workers.  However, implementation of IPC guidelines must take a holistic, rights-based approach that takes account of dignity, ethics, compassion, humanity and social justice.  Jules stated that the Covid-19 pandemic has raised may issues around implementation of IPC policies, some of which have failed to hit the compassion mark and explored what we can learn from this and how we can tackle injustices and associated de-implementation challenges. 

My thanks to the RCS England for their kind invitation to join the partnership as an active and inclusive partner.  Also, thanks to Closerstill Media for hosting such a valuable and thought provoking two days, and my thanks to those of you who took the time to join our virtual meeting which I hope you enjoyed. 

Much of the content will remain available within the event platform until the end of this year. 

Please save the dates:

19-22 August 2021: AfPP Annual Conference at York University

 9-10 November 2021: Future Surgery LIVE at ExCeL London. 

Dawn Stott 



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