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President's Dec 2021 Newsletter

from Mr Tim O'Brien

Another year draws to a close and, once again, talk around our hospitals is dominated by COVID and all its attendant uncertainties.

Inevitably, your President asks himself whether a membership will at this time have any interest in what is transpiring at BAUS or whether the practicalities and challenges of family life, the shifting sands of rota management, the frustrations of mounting waiting lists or the uncertainties of planned travel, together make what is happening in our small corner of WC2 seem rather inconsequential!

Whatever your view, I will bring you up to date with happenings at BAUS as we have been working hard to reshape the organisation and prepare strongly for when the pandemic inevitably fades into the rear-view mirror.

BAUS Annual Congress 2022

Plans are well advanced for a superb congress in Birmingham from 12 to 15 June 2022 - superb, whether you are planning to attend in person (as we hope you will) or as a virtual delegate if time doesn’t allow you to travel. 

Ian Pearce and Joe Philip have put together a great programme with touches designed to allow delegates to get the most out of our first face-to-face congress for three years. We know members want to meet up with old friends, swap stories and have fun, so the time set aside for networking and socialising will be considerable: no rushed lunches and truncated conversations this year. The event kicks off with the "Back to BAUS" party on Sunday evening (12 June), so why not pop that in your diary and we will see you there.

Abstract submission for the congress opened on 1 November 2021, and the deadline for submissions is 11:00hr on Thursday 6 January 2022.  To submit your abstracts for BAUS 2022, click here.

Forgive me for mentioning a new initiative at congress which is of great interest to me, viz a "Poster from every unit" in a specially-convened session in the mezzanine level above the exhibition. We want to hear from every unit - tell us about a condition you are managing in a novel way; tell us about something that challenges you; tell us something about a service improvement you’ve introduced which you think the rest of BAUS could learn from; tell us about something you do really well; tell us about a disaster or simply an idea you have. We are leaving it up to you to decide what you want to say, but we do want to hear something from every unit; after all it’s a national congress.  Abstracts for the "Poster from every unit" can be submitted up to 11:00hr on Monday 7 February 2022 – see the link above for full details.

The provisional conference programme will be distributed in the Spring, but we really hope UK urologists will want to come together to make this a BAUS congress to remember.


Delivery of BPH Services - Opportunities & Challenges

The explosion in new technology in the LUTS/BOO sphere emphasises the need for urologists to stay up-to-date in this key area of urology. To this end, a meeting will be held on the delivery of BPH services on 2 March 2022 in Birmingham. 

Details of the programme (which has been put together by Richard Hindley and Iqbal Shergill) are available by clicking here. Why not request leave now?


Changes to BAUS Operatonal Structures


In February 2021 we appointed Lisa Dodgshon as the first ever non-urological trustee of BAUS. Her background is in business, marketing, pharma and communications, and she has already brought a fresh business-savvy approach to BAUS operations. She has also been leading a major digital redesign project at BAUS (see below) and all trustees are agreed that her appointment has been a hugely positive step for the organisation. It is likely that another non-urological trustee will be appointed in the future.  

BAUS Membership

In November 2021 at the BAUS AGM, we presented proposed changes to our membership categories.  These changes gave effect to the decision at the AGM last year for a change in our Articles of Association to broaden membership and include non-medically qualified healthcare practitioners who are involved in the treatment of urological patients.

This move is in recognition of the fact that the urological team is drawn from a huge pool of talent, and roles within those teams have blurred over time. Furthermore, there are large numbers of people in those teams who have no real professional home and BAUS can now provide that. Membership has been set at the highly attractive rate of £75 per annum, so why don’t you talk to the robotic assistants, clinical scientists or nurses on your team and encourage them to join? This move, we think, presents a huge opportunity for BAUS to grow. In 2021, Nick Watkin and the BAUS team (especially Judith Mitchell, Tricia Hagan and Anne Bishop) have put in a huge amount of work to rationalise the categories of membership of BAUS, and all trustees are agreed we now have a more coherent template.   

BAUS Council

In September 2021, BAUS council met in a new style format with a view to producing a more strategic edge to council. We spent two days in Cambridge, at Jesus College, and we covered a lot of ground. Breakouts included sessions on:

  • urology in smaller remote units;
  • urology in the devolved nations;
  • congress 2022 and beyond;
  • the older urologist;
  • widening participation at BAUS;
  • research at BAUS;
  • first responder action after a surgical calamity  (with Kevin Turner);
  • priming the pipeline at BAUS;
  • elective surgical backlog;
  • a BAUS BPH meeting; mentorship;
  • a BAUS code of conduct;
  • a BAUS International forum;
  • training in emergency urology;
  • the role of regional representatives; and
  • membership & fees at BAUS.

I particularly want to highlight here the work being done by Suzanne Biers in developing a country-wide programme of cadaveric training in emergency urology. This is a very important initiative, designed to help Consultant Urologists remain confident about emergency urology and, in particular, the management of iatrogenic injuries to the ureter. To hear more about this in 2022, please click here.

Additionally, every member of council contributed individually to the BAUS digital project through structured interviews with two digital consultants (Matt Baker and Alex Butler) from Foundry3 consultancy. It was a superb two days and has laid a marker down for BAUS.

If any of these projects interest you, then do feel free to get in touch with me direct. Do you have ideas in the sphere of urology in geographically remote locations or ideas for keeping urologists productive and happy as they move into their late 50’s and early 60’s? If you do, then there are projects at BAUS for you to be involved in.  If this format for BAUS council appeals, then why not stand for election to be a regional representative in your area?  

BAUS Workforce Data

Steve Payne is the BAUS Workforce Lead, working closely with Judith Mitchell in the BAUS Office. This work gives us vital information in planning urological services, and in understanding better where the pressure points will be. This year, for the first time, we included SAS doctor numbers in the Workforce Report and we will be piloting the collection of wider demographic data as we meet the challenges of building a specialty with a more diverse workforce. The latter is part of the numerous initiatives within the "widening participation" project at BAUS, led by Jo Cresswell and Susan Willis.


BAUS Digital Project

The pandemic has emphasised the importance of the digital sphere in all our lives, so it seemed a good moment in 2021 to review our digital footprint and outputs at BAUS. We have been keen to make sure we are using the technologies to their maximum advantage. I, for one, have publicly stated my enthusiasm for a BAUS app which I think could revolutionise our communications, stimulate new educational output, grow opportunities for sponsorship, and make our members more connected with the organisation.

Trustees felt it would be sensible to involve digital professionals to advise us in these matters, as the last thing we wanted to do is waste BAUS money on a digital "white elephant". The Foundry3 consultancy were hired and they have extensively consulted now with members of BAUS council and BSoT. The feedback has been fascinating.

They are preparing a final report which should be available early in 2022, and should allow BAUS to make some decisions about the direction of digital travel. This will be a major theme of our work in 2022.


BAUS On-line Learning

The BAUS webinar programme has evolved in its second year. The "Controversies in Urology" programme has been developed by Sunjay Jain and Jo Cresswell, and is covering an eclectic mix of topics, showcasing many new, young talents in British urology. Why not take a look at the webinars to be delivered in 2022 and see if one catches your eye? If you have missed the webinars in the Autumn, members can access these in the webinar archive (requires member log-in) where you can watch ones from this year or last.

The programme developed by Anna O’Riordan for more junior urologists, as an introductory course to Urology for CT/FY doctors, will again be run as a virtual course in January, with supporting webinars. Why not pass on details to any young doctors in your organisation who might be interested. It might be the start of a great career ...

The industry-focussed programme "Innovations in Urology", curated under the jurisdiction of Oliver Wiseman, has continued throughout 2021.  It has given industry a chance to market new products, and urologists a chance to understand a little better the emerging technical technologies.  We are currently reviewing the programme and will update you on future plans in the New Year.


SAS Doctors in Urology

This project develops at pace. Nitin Shrotri (pictured) has brought a special blend of skill and passion to the mix, and huge progress has been made in what has been a historically challenging area for BAUS ... and, in truth, for other disciplines in UK medicine and surgery.

The particular initiative in 2021-2 is a pilot programme of mentoring for 30 SAS doctors. It has got off to an encouraging start and might well serve as a template for a wider programme of mentoring in the organisation. It’s a good moment to congratulate Nitin on the award of the BAUS Gold Medal in 2022 for his outstanding efforts in this area of work.

Anyone interested in contributing to this project can find further information, and contact details, on the SAS@BAUS page on the website.



Simon Harrison steps down from his role at GIRFT at the end of 2021, and now is a good moment to thank him for his astonishing contribution in the lead role. of what has, undoubtedly, been a game-changing project. John McGrath and Kieran O’Flynn have fully taken over the leadership of GIRFT Urology and have run four projects through 2021 in conjunction with BAUS members.

These have covered acute stones, outpatients, TURBT and surgery for BOO/LUTS. The best practice pathways will be available on the GIRFT Academy website (with links from the BAUS site) early in the New Year. I’d encourage you to take a look. GIRFT has been tasked by the DoH to take a lead role in elective surgical recovery in 2022 this will be a major collaboration between GIRFT and BAUS.


BAUS Section of Trainees (BSoT)

Congratulations to all those in BSoT who were successful in the November FRCS Urol)examination – we look forward to you becoming full members of BAUS.

THis is a good moment, also, to highlight the BSoT Conference taking place in Edinburgh on 8-9 March 2022 (note – the meeting has been rescheduled from January to March due to COVID and the spread of the Omicron variant). It should be a superb couple of days.  The BAUS President this week visited the superb new training and development centre at Storz HQ in Slough. It is a state of the art facility for the delivery of skills courses. Storz are keen to see the facility utilised by all specialities, and opportunities abound.

We have already hatched plans for BAUS Section of Endourology to deliver ureteroscopy skills courses in 2022. Watch this space as details will become available in January 2022.


BAUS Sections

The BAUS Section of Endourology and the BAUS Section of Oncology have both held very successful face-to-face meetings this Autumn, in Nottingham and Cambridge respectively. What a pleasure it was to see friends, have fun, swap stories and share ideas in the time-honoured and much missed way. How we’ve missed the joys of UK rail travel on a Sunday and grumpy taxi drivers!

Three of our Section chairs (Sheilagh Reid, Daron Smith, and Majid Shabbir) step down from their roles at the end of 2021, and it seems fitting to thank them all for their contributions to BAUS. It’s been a particularly challenging brief for all of them, as they have tried to keep their respective sections moving forward despite the constraints of the pandemic. It seems a long time ago when the BAUS Covid prioritisation documents had to be delivered in a hurry, but the Section leads delivered what our members needed, and delivered on-time.  I think they have done splendidly in their roles and I’m sure you would want to join me in thanking them for their unstinting efforts. The leadership batons are being passed on to Mo Belal, Sri Sriprasad, and Marc Lucky respectively, and I look forward to hearing their plans for their respective sections.

Urolink has been innovating quietly through the pandemic with virtual teaching, and link-ups with its partners across the world. Watch out too for a series of articles in the BJUI on urology in the developing world – these promise to be a fascinating read and have been coordinated by Steve Payne.  The Urolink section of the BAUS website includes a pre-publication release of some of these articles. 


In closing, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful break and if you have holiday planned I hope it survives any new Covid related restrictions unlike the O’Brien family trip to Val d’Isère which bit the dust ...

With best wishes
Tim O’Brien, BAUS President

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