The British Association of Day Surgery (BADS) Council is committed to delivering high quality Annual Scientific Meetings (ASMs) and conferences for our members and anyone interested in day-case and short-stay surgery. We have noticed a fall in attendance at our ASM over the past few years and wished to explore this by conducting a survey of BADS members. Thank you to all those members who completed the survey.
Table 1 ASM attendance numbers
Only 30% of respondents had attended the BADS ASM 2017 in Southport. Of those that attended, 79% attended the networking dinner held on the Thursday night. The dinner is included in the 2-day delegate rate.At the time of this survey (November 2017), BADS had 297 members. We have not always collected data on the profession of our membership but have started to in March 2016. 110 BADS members completed this survey (37%). 42% were anaesthetists, 28% nurses, 17% surgeons, 5% ODPs, 5% managers and 3% “other”, which included 2 ward managers, an administrator and a physician’s assistant in anaesthesia.
We are well aware of the pressures across the UK on hospitals to release staff to attend courses and conferences, the reduction of study budgets for doctors and the absence of study budgets for allied health professionals despite the recent introduction of revalidation for nursing staff and the requirement for continuing professional development. We wanted to find out if these were the reasons for not attending or was it a problem with the venue location or programme.
Figure 1. BADS members responding to survey by professional group.
Table 2 Reasons for not attending
BADS ASM has always been a two-day conference to allow for the networking dinner to be included. We were pleased to hear that 45% of respondents would like it to stay as 2-day conference and 24% did not mind with 24% saying they would prefer a 1-day conference.Other reasons given for not being able to attend the BADS ASM in 2017 were other commitments (10%) and not practical to attend every year (3%).
With cost in mind, we asked for opinion on the conference fee. 63% of respondents thought the cost was about right and 36% thought it was too much. 1 respondent thought it was cheap. One way to reduce the cost of running a conference is to reduce the amount of printed material provided on the day. This would also be more environmentally friendly. 30% of respondents didn’t mind, 27% of respondents would prefer an all-electronic programme and only 8% preferred an all paper programme.
We like to plan our conference venue 2-3 years in advance and wished to explore where our BADS membership would consider attending. Understandably more central locations were favoured, we assume due to easier travel arrangements.
Table 3 Cities that BADS members would consider travelling to for a BADS Conference
(it was possible to choose more than one option)
We have taken note of the survey responses and will be keeping our BADS ASM as a 2-day conference. In 2018 at the Sheffield conference we will be moving to an electronic programme with a paper daily schedule and have not increased the conference fees. If you have any further comments or would like to be a local organiser then please contact firstname.lastname@example.orgThere were also a number of suggestions for London (11), places along the South Coast and Scotland. For those of you that mentioned Yorkshire and Sheffield we hope to see you on 21st & 22nd June this year. For those that mentioned Leeds, York, Harrogate, Nottingham or Manchester we hope that Sheffield is not too far for you to attend the conference in June 2018.
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