A memorable weekend - Veterinary Practice
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A memorable weekend

ROSS ALLAN reports from another busy and successful event at St Andrews

THE Scottish BSAVA congress was held on the weekend of 9th to 11th May in St Andrews and was a superb success. It’s not often that you’re offered international quality CPD, excellent accommodation and a first-rate social element all in the one location, but this was certainly the case in what turned out to be a most memorable weekend.

The venue was the Fairmount hotel in St Andrews. With panoramic views over the town, its university and surrounding golf courses, and blessed with great weather, it was a wonderful location.

The size of the hotel enabled many options for delegates alongside the academic streams, including a 40-foot swimming pool, full gymnasium, beauty therapy services or golf courses for the adults, or kids’ club sessions for the younger members of the family: something for everyone.

The focus for the weekend was Advances in general veterinary practice – medicine, surgery and nursing, and two main speakers were chosen with a view to providing a wide and varied lecture programme. The main lectures ran on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

For the second year running, both of the main speakers delivered lectures to vets and nurses. Clare Knottenbelt from Glasgow University covered medical topics for vets including “The role of COX inhibitors in cancer” and “When the Preds don’t work: new immunosuppressant agents”; her nursing topics ranged from “Endocrine monitoring for nurses in practice” to “Nursing the neonate”.

The surgical speaker was Alasdair Hotston Moore from the University of Bristol. For many of the delegates it was the first time that they had heard Alasdair speak, and his lectures were as entertaining and informative as his lecture titles: “At bursting point: hernias and ruptures”, and “More than one-way to skin a cat: wound reconstruction” raised a smile on the registration form, and also did so at the weekend.

Alasdair’s nursing subjects were also well received: “Get knotted! Schedule 3 surgery” to “More than slapping on a dressing: modern wound management”. The weekend, organised by the BSAVA Scottish Region, also provided sessions for receptionists: Mark Moran again delivered first-rate lectures for them on the Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

New for this year were a total of 19 workshops run on the Friday and Saturday afternoons. These enabled the congress to cover a wider range of topics than in previous years and improved the variety of subjects covered.

The range was certainly expansive, and included those such as pain, renal disease, practice management, KCS, orthopaedic decision making, atopy and suturing, to name but a few. While some were better attended than others, it was definitely an area that will be developed over the next few years.

Visiting the exhibition is an important part of the weekend and with a total of 42 exhibitors, delegates had the opportunity to renew acquaintances with old friends and meet some exhibitors that had not been to the event before.

The social element is a vital part of the Scottish congress weekend, and with two days of lectures there came two nights of entertainment. The Friday night was themed on “Grease – the movie”.

Fancy dress wasn’t essential but added to the evening’s amusement. There were quite a few “Pink ladies”, and “T-birds”, with some more abstractly taking on the 50s’ theme.


After a sparkling reception in the exhibition hall, 260 people went through to the atrium of the hotel that had been splendidly decorated for the event, for a buffet dinner aimed to tie-in with the theme. After dinner the dance floor filled as the disco kicked off with “Grease is the word” and “Summer Nights”, and continued into the wee small hours.

Saturday’s dinner was a more formal affair. Once again there was a drinks reception in the exhibition hall sponsored by Intervet/ScheringPlough, and then the hall decanted to the central atrium following the skirl of bagpipes.

After dinner there was the prize presentation, and then speeches from the chairman of Scottish region, Mary Fraser, and Richard Dixon, presidentelect of the BSAVA. Both speakers gave thanks for the support from companies attending and the committee of volunteers that organised the event.

Richard highlighted the importance of the Scottish region to BSAVA and encouraged those present to consider volunteering for their local group. Following the speeches, Saturday night’s entertainment started off with a ceilidh with kilts on show, and delegates risking life and limb as they spun round to “Strip the Willow” amongst others.

With ever increasing options for CPD available today, it’s important to consider delegates’ needs, and to deliver them. At St Andrews this year the organising committee aimed to do just this and the general consensus at the end of the weekend was that they had succeeded in doing so.

What about 2009? Plans are already taking shape for the Scottish Congress, and shall develop over the next few months. Visit www.bsavastore.com/info/Scottish+Congress.html to find out the latest news.

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