The meeting opened on the evening of 1st November with a session about Realistic Medicine. Professor Chris Burton of the University of Sheffield talked about patients with ‘unexplained persistent physical symptoms’ (formerly often called ‘medically unexplained symptoms’), providing a master class in managing these. Next was an excellent talk by Mr Terence O’Reilly, Consultant Surgeon in Aberdeen and a Senior Medical Officer with the Chief Medical Officer’s team in Edinburgh, talking about Realistic Medicine 2 years from launch – emphasising the importance of giving patients enough information and also ensuring they understood it; it’s vital to check that you have addressed what the patient wants and what is important to them. We went on to have a very enjoyable dinner, well attended by delegates and their guests, with post dinner chat long into the evening.
On 2nd November the meeting opened with a talk entitled “Good Conversations” by Dr Margaret Hannah, Director of Public Health NHS Fife: this was a fascinating review of the need for transformational change in how we provide healthcare and included the opportunity for delegates to chat to people sitting next to them about conversations important to them; a key message was the need to attend to patients’ social relationships, exploring their meaning and purpose – she advocates a good quality conversation as a health intervention. A fascinating talk which provoked much discussion.
After two scientific talks we moved on to a session on collaborative working between primary and secondary care, with joint presentations from Geriatric Medicine consultants and GPs, talking about developments in the community which have produced impressive improvements in the care of older patients across Grampian, Highland and Tayside. Delegates asked numerous questions and there were multiple Tweets – an inspiring session.
The final section, ‘Adapting for the future’, had 2 more scientific talks : one was the winner of this year’s Evidence Based Medicine Day prize, ‘Reduced Level of Arousal and Increased Mortality in Acute Medical Admissions’, presented by Dr Sam Blackley and Dr Amy Todd. The last event was the launch of the Scottish Care of Older People (SCoOP) national audit of comprehensive geriatric assessment. The background to this and the plans for the audit were outlined by Professor Phyo Myint and Dr Graham Ellis (our new Specialty Adviser to the CMO for Geriatric Medicine in Scotland) then there was encouragement by me to volunteer to assist with this work. We hope that this audit will take place throughout Scotland.
The Kate Johnson prize for the best oral presentation from the submitted abstracts was won by Andrew Ablett, a medical student at Aberdeen University, and the prize for the best poster was won by Dr Claire Muir and colleagues from Aberdeen.
We are very grateful to the team in Aberdeen, particularly the lead organiser Dr Bob Caslake, ably supported by Dr Graeme Hoyle and colleagues, who went to considerable trouble to provide an excellent meeting. It was notable that we comfortably exceeded the original estimated attendance, with more than 80 delegates present from across Scotland.
I look forward to seeing you in Lanarkshire on 27 April 2018 for our Spring meeting.
Chair, BGS Scotland Council