A year in the life of the BASHH President

14th November 2016

I cannot believe we are in November and are well into the academic year - so what better time to start our new ‘Blogging 4 BASHH’ programme by reflecting on some of this year’s activities.

In January, we had the popular BASHH / Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health joint meeting on integrated sexual health services - opening the meeting was my first BASHH duty as president and it has been non-stop since then.

Our venue for the HPV ‘drop in’ session for MPs

February brought snowdrops breaking through the frosty ground of my garden and further action on the HPV vaccination programme for girls which was out to tender. The BASHH campaign bus revved up another gear - we spoke to everyone who would listen to us and those who wouldn’t!

Together with HPV Action and the Terrence Higgins Trust, we had a great HPV ‘drop in’ session for MPs in the Houses of Parliament. Lots of tweets and support was generated.

What success - the quadrivalent vaccine was awarded the tender and the health of a generation of girls was improved in one sweep by a great decision. But there is much more to do - the pilot HPV vaccination programme for MSM is underway at selected clinics, roll out of this programme and gender neutral vaccination is our goal.

The BASHH - THT ‘drop in’ team
Alex Phillips (THT), John McSorley, Peter Greenhouse, Colm O’Mahony and Elizabeth Carlin (BASHH) (left to right, centre)
Anna Hartley and Elizabeth Carlin at the RCP in London

In March, Anna Hartley and I were filmed for the Royal College of Physicians’ ‘Specialty Spotlight’ series, describing ‘Genitourinary Medicine’ and why we joined it. For me it was the wide variety of work, opportunities to make a real difference and being part of a multidisciplinary team - every day is interesting and different. The bonus ball was being trained by some of the most inspirational clinicians I know. We’ve had lots of excellent feedback so I really hope it encourages recruitment to the specialty. A big thank you to those who inspired me to come into the specialty - I still think it is the most fantastic specialty ever. See us in action on the RCP website - Click Here

April saw the winds of change in my day job as both the Trusts I work for began delivering new integrated sexual health services in Nottingham and mid-Nottinghamshire, following a tendering process last summer. For anyone who is going through tendering I know how challenging this can be - we are all doing our best to make sure quality services are there for those who need them - so hang in there. It’s worth checking out the BASHH tendering guidance [Click Here], which has lots of practical information and links.

In July, the annual BASHH conference in Oxford was a sell-out success and bookings had to be halted until a marquee extension was secured. No ordinary affair was this but a splendid space which allowed yet more delegates to attend.

Registration at the BASHH conference
Delighted to be at the conference

The conference was brilliant with great speakers, electronic posters and glorious sunshine.

Lunchtime in the sunshine - note the marquee!
Another full session at the conference

Next year’s conference will be held on 18-20 June 2017 in Belfast [Click Here] and will be a joint conference with SSSTDI (Society for the Study of Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Ireland).

In October I was honoured to present, with Professor Mark Nelson, the first BASHH Outstanding Contribution Award [Click Here] to the father and brother of Professor Martin Fisher, Professor of HIV Medicine in Brighton, who died in April 2015. He was a truly inspiring and passionate clinician who worked tirelessly in sexual health and HIV. We all need to question what we do and how we do it, this is the route to increasing our knowledge and optimising patient care. Martin did this in abundance and with great humility and humour. He is greatly missed.

What a busy year it’s been so far and there are lots of exciting things ahead such as the centenary celebrations - I’m looking forward to discussing these in my next blog. Meanwhile, keep tuned in for the next posting from our ‘Blogging 4 BASHH’ team.

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