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From Mr Asif Muneer (@Dr_Andrology), Honorary Secretary of BAUS

"... bigger, better & more exciting but bring your own snacks ..."

Welcome to #BAUS21, another exciting virtual event which follows on from the success of #BAUS20 last November. Although the original 2021 meeting was planned to return to the cultural hub of Liverpool, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to an early decision by BAUS Trustees to stay safe and deliver a virtual extravaganza. 

Asif Muneer, BAUS Hon Secretary has prepared a welcome video, below, for you:

The worldwide pandemic has brought together nations, not only to learn from each other but also to collaborate and develop vaccines, share PPE and develop clinical trials so that the human race can navigate to what will undoubtedly be a "new normal". Similarly, we can also learn from the international urology fraternity and, therefore, this year the theme for #BAUS21 is "Global Urology". Delegates will find a truly international flavour to the meeting and although @BAUSurology cannot deliver the free lunchtime culinary experience and gastronomic delights that were originally planned, I’m sure a few of your favourite urological low-salt low-oxalate snacks -Doritos, hummus or carrot sticks - in front of the computer are sure to compensate ... just for this year anyway!

The analytics for #BAUS20 showed that over 1,800 delegates had registered, with almost 26,000 delegate page interactions, which makes it the biggest meeting held by @BAUSurology. The industry-sponsored events were also very well attended, and we are thankful to our industry partners who have, again and without hesitation, taken up the sponsorship packages for #BAUS21 which will be a bigger event than last year.

The meeting will again be held over three days and delivered as five parallel streams split into three viewing sessions during the day which is over 90 hours of content. We will also continue with the playback option so that delegates can watch sessions of interest which may have clashed during the live stream. We have, of course, taken on board delegate and BAUS section lead feedback from the last meeting to ensure that the platform navigation is made as smooth as possible. 

A new feature in the #BAUS21 programme is a number of joint sessions with urological societies from around the world. I’m grateful to all the BAUS members who took up my offer of co-ordinating these sessions, and putting together an exciting series of talks from EAU @Uroweb, AUA @AmerUrological, USANZ @USANZUrology, Malaysia (MUA), Pakistan (PAUS), India (USI), Sri Lanka (SLAUS), Indonesia (IUA), Hong Kong (HKUA) and the Middle East (AAU). BAUS is fortunate to have several members with well-established links throughout the global urology network, and this is the first time that we have been able to engage with so many international societies and speakers at a single event. We look forward to learning from each other and strengthening our ties for the future.

The meeting will, as ever, incorporate the section meetings for AGUS and FNUU on Monday. AGUS have also put together a session on Peyronie’s Disease and Technology in Andrology. There is a state of the art joint FNUU and Endourology bladder outflow session which will cover all of the current surgical modalities and techniques used for BOO, and I would like to thank Miss Suzanne Biers for putting this together efficiently and on time.  There is a packed BAUS Section of Endourology programme and we are grateful to Professor Olivier Traxer for accepting the invitation to join a host of other international experts in endourology. The BAUS Section of Oncology have put together a session on cancer centralisation and, in keeping with the theme of Global Urology, there will be perspectives from high-volume centres of excellence in Australia, USA and Europe. We round up the first day with a British Urologists Abroad session where six urologists provide a light-hearted overview of working in another country after training in the @NHS. Hopefully, it won't encourage a mass exodus of @BSoT_UK trainees to Bermuda to join @GordonGKooiman or to the Gold Coast with @NickRukin. 

On Tuesday, we will open with a surgical risks session which will provide delegates with an overview on how urological surgeons can reduce the chances of litigation and complaints, with expert speakers including Mr Ian Eardley and Mrs Lauren Sutherland QC. We have also incorporated two "Consultant Cycle" sessions, as I feel it important that BAUS members gain not only from the educational content of the meeting but also in areas related to a career in urology where they feel unprepared. I’m particularly looking forward to the "Returning to Work After Illness" session that Professor Steve Payne has put together.

Tuesday will also see the first IBUS session held within the main BAUS programme, and my thanks go to Mr Joe Philips for taking the lead in putting this together. We welcome a COVID pandemic expert, Professor Kamlesh Khunti to deliver the inaugural Mr Abdul Mabud Chowdhury (pictured right) lecture. Abdul’s premature death following COVID shocked the urological community, and our thoughts are with his family and friends. 

The final day will incorporate the meeting highlights session and the @BSoT_UK session titled "A Smaller Urological World". The number of international sessions running in parallel at the meeting is testament to the new ways of working and collaborating, which means that global opportunities are now endless. This session will highlight the role of social media which is having a major influence on medical information dissemination. The trainee research arm, @BURSTurology, will provide updates on their ongoing projects and the current BURST chair, Mr Veeru Kasivisvanathan, will himself deliver the Royal College of Surgeons Hunterian Professorship lecture - congratulations to Veeru. A special session has also been put together by Mr Nitin Shrotri @PeaPeaspot and @BAUSurology President Tim O’Brien which is part of an ongoing programme aimed at supporting SAS & LE doctors in urology. The rest of the meeting is interspersed with something for everyone. We have continued the popular President Q&A sessio, as it proved to be a nice forum for discussion at the last meeting.

We have invited a number of distinguished international and national experts to ensure that delegates can benefit from contemporary knowledge and opinions with a global perspective. I am grateful that Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet has accepted the invitation to deliver the BAUS Annual Guest Lecture. There are a number of additional guest lectures including Ms Rachel Stancliffe, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Care in Oxford (BJUI Guest Lecture, @BJUIjournal), Professor Megan Reitz (JCU Guest Lecture, @JCUrology) and Professor Alberto Briganti (EAU Guest Lecture, @Uroweb). The list of speakers is far too extensive to thank and name them all – but to all those contributing to #BAUS21 – thank you very much and we look forward seeing you in June.

It is important that industry and sponsors are supported by delegates as, without them, the annual meeting would struggle. We are also delighted that a number of companies have laid on symposia each day so please log on to as many of these as you can and visit the virtual exhibition area. A special thanks to all the sponsors, industry and companies who have supported this year’s meeting.

The number of abstracts submitted this year was 509 which is remarkable in view of the immense pressure junior doctors and Consultants were under during the COVID pandemic. There was a 29% acceptance rate and we will be having a new format to deliver the poster presentations which allows presenters to prepare and deliver their work just as they would have done in a face-to-face meeting ... but without the stress. The ePoster sessions are planned throughout all three days and, hopefully, will still allow lively debate. Once again, thanks to all the abstract reviewers for giving up your time to go through the submissions.

I would like to congratulate all of this year’s medal winners with a personal thanks to a true visionary and pioneer of robotic surgery, Dr Mani Menon, recipient of this year’s St Pauls Medal, for helping Professor Prokar Dasgupta with the joint BAUS-AUA session. Also, congratulations to Professor Howard Kynaston winner of the St Peter’s Medal, Mr Andrew Dickinson winner of the BAUS Gold Medal, Professor Sri Sriprasad winner of the John Anderson Award and Professor Bhaskar Somani, a worthy recipient of this year’s Karl Storz-Harold Hopkins Golden Telescope. Well done to you all. 

Finally, this is my last meeting as Honorary Secretary (yes time does fly!) and I would like to thank Harry Heald and the rest of the events team for all of their hard work and support, especially through the challenging COVID period where a novel format had to be built at short notice – that was a truly stressful period and we pulled it off. He is now ably supported by an extended events team, with Annabelle Masham and Athene Madden joining him to create a fantastic group going forward. I will be handing over the reins to the experienced hands of the ever-present Ian Pearce, currently Secretary Elect, who will hopefully be able to take us back to a face-to-face meeting in Birmingham for #BAUS22. I wish him the very best for his two-year term as Honorary Secretary, and offer my thanks to him for putting together this year's Teaching Courses. 

It’s been a fantastic experience and challenge over the last four years, and I hope that @BAUSurology continues as a great, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, supporting urology in the UK. Thanks to the BAUS executive team, Past Honorary Secretary Paul Jones (for showing me the ropes #BAUS18/19) and all the Trustees, both current and past for their support. Hopefully we will all meet again in person!  

Enjoy logging on to the #BAUS21 meeting and don’t forget to complete the feedback