After a year of planning, I found myself opening the 2016 annual conference in Edinburgh on 19th October. In in all honesty, I was rather apprehensive about how things would turn out. Based on conversations during the event, social media activity (#EMTA16) and the structured feedback forms,
I think it is fair to say it was a success.
Quite deliberately, my plan was to attempt a balance between clinical content; content related to non-technical aspects of work and training and the business of an annual general meeting of a professional association. I was also keen to offer an opportunity to present posters and share best practice. From the abstracts submitted 3 case reports and 3 quality improvement projects were selected for brief oral presentations. Following delegate voting, Emma Grace won a prize for best case report poster (histamine fish poisoning) and Catherine Ward won best QIP poster (introduction of a paediatric anaphylaxis box). Prizes for oral presentations were awarded (courtesy of the RSM EM section) to Polly Jordan (for a case report of peripartum cardiomyopathy) and James Bentley (QIP on improving blood culture collection).
This year’s event was the first EMTA conference (in recent history, at least) to run over two days. Although most delegates attended for both days, this did add pressure to keep the programme balanced on both days. After opening with a general overview of what EMTA does (essentially, speaking out for EM trainees publicly, at the various committees of RCEM and to other stakeholders such as the GMC), delegates heard keynote speeches from Jon Bailey, the EMTA President and Chris Moulton, the vice-president of RCEM. Both underlined the centrality of addressing staff welfare and well-being in securing the future of EM.
How to select clinical subjects? Some speakers covered areas where practice is evolving – sepsis (Jeff Keep) and point of care ultrasound (Rich Griffiths). I also brought in Alastair Campbell to present on obstetrics in the ED. Because competence in trauma is central to EM, Steve Bush kindly updated us on ATLS (including addressing some common misconceptions) and Peter Larcombe outlined the ATACC approach.
With regard to training and non-technical issues, Jon Bailey and Ellen McCourt both spoke on contract changes, Amanda Farrow explained how the e-portfolio and assessment requirements have changed - not least in response to trainee feedback and Laura McGregor and her team from SCSCHF spoke about simulation training for EM. In the style of course directors everywhere, when a speaker became unavailable, I stepped in myself and delivered a session on fatigue –there will be more on this as part of EMTA’s ‘well-being in EM’ project in 2017.
My thanks go out to all those who took part and made the event a success- my colleagues on the EMTA executive committee, our speakers and sponsors and, of course, the delegates themselves. Plans are already underway for a bigger and better conference in 2017 under the leadership of Matt Edwards and Amar Mashru – please standby: announcements to follow. #EMTA17.