Taster Membership

Dr Ian Forgacs - BSG President

I have been President of the BSG since June 2014 and I am immensely proud to lead an organisation that has nearly 4000 members, all of whom in one way or another have declared a commitment to gastroenterology - a specialty that has held a fascination for me since my first few months as a medical student.

I have always felt that it has been to my tremendous advantage that I decided to be a gastroenterologist as early as my second term in medical school. I know the curriculum has changed quite a bit since my day but we were taught physiology really well, and gut physiology in particular was taught in a manner that, shall I just say, I found so inspiring that to be a gastroenterologist was what I decided to be right there and then. Of course, that meant I could spend a lot of time in medical school on what I decided that I needed to know rather than what they tried to teach me. My knowledge of orthopaedics, ENT and indeed, most of non-GI surgery is rudimentary. However, I think my teachers thought that, because I knew so much about one specific area, I must in reality be very bright.

I hope that if I had my time again, I would make the same career choice. (I should add here that my quasi-Buddhist wife thinks that when I am reincarnated, I ought to consider myself fortunate to return as anything more sophisticated than a Helicobacter pylori). By comparison with the other major medical disciplines, gastroenterology is a young specialty and what has made it grow so fast in only one generation has been the development of endoscopy. Endoscopy has morphed from a mainly diagnostic procedure to one that is increasingly a technique for delivering treatment. There are some gastroenterologists who are so much interventional endoscopists that they are almost surgeons without a knife. They see endoscopy as the end rather than a means to an end. I have always been a clinical gastroenterologist first and endoscopist second. It's unimportant whether you are a hollow organ or solid organ sort of person (in other words are more interested in the gi tract or the liver) as you will have to be trained very broadly before you complete your specialist training.

However, technophilic you are, such skills will be of little use when you are trying to help patients through functional problems such as dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome. It is quite impossible to look after patients with complex chronic problems such as inflammatory bowel disease without highly developed clinical skills and an empathic bedside manner. The major change in managing patients with gastrointestinal disease in the forty years since I qualified has been in the technology of diagnosis - yes through the endoscope but also because of the amazing developments in diagnostic radiology. It is highly likely that the application of basic laboratory methods and clinical medicine (translational research) will transform the practice of clinical gastroenterology, more so in the next thirty years than ever before. You guys are so lucky to be starting out at such a time.

Dr Duncan Loft - BSG Treasurer

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Professor John McLaughlin - Chair BSG Research Committee

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Dr Gavin Johnson - BSG Education Chair

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Julie Solomon - Head of Research & Learning

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Video: Choosing a career in Gastro?

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Please note: The membership payment year runs from 1st January through to 31st December each year, therefore at any part of the year you join you will pay £15.00 and will pay a further £15.00 the following January for a whole year.

Video: Benefits of Taster Membership

Meet Your Committee...

Name: Dr Laith Alrubaiy

Position: Chair

Representing: Wales

Grade: ST4

I am an academic clinical trainee in Gastroenterology from Wales. What I like about the specialty is the diversity of patients and their presentations. Gastroenterology combines both the theoretical aspect of medicine with the practical skills of endoscopy. You won't get bored doing Gastroenterology, as you will come across new challenging cases on daily bases. Anyone is welcome to join us, as there is always a need for young and enthusiastic gastroenterologists.

Ask Laith a Question:

Name: Dr Louise China

Position: Secretary

Representing: NE Thames

Grade: ST5 (OOPR)

Interests: Hepatology, Medical Education

I'm a Gastroenterology SpR currently undertaking a Hepatology research fellowship (3 years) and have just finished a year out as a clinical teaching fellow at UCL medical school. I chose Gastroenterology not only because of the variety, but also because of the people you get to work with - Gastroenterologists tend to be an intelligent, competitive and aspirational bunch who are good fun! The range of patients (age, condition & personality) and the practical side mean you'll never have a boring day at work. There's also many avenues other than clinical work you can explore within the specialty.

Ask Louise a Question:

Name: Dr Charlotte Rutter

Position: Former Chair

Grade: ST7

I currently work in Gloucester as a Severn Deanery trainee. I started out as a basic surgical trainee but a career in medicine appealed as I missed the diagnostic challenge of being a physician.

Gastroenterology is a varied specialty combining patients of all ages, acute emergencies, such as upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and enables you to utilise your practical skills in endoscopy. It is a fantastic choice of specialty and I look forward to offering advice to any potential gastroenterologists in the making!

Ask Charlotte a Question:

Name: Dr Max Hu

Representing: Northern

Grade: StR5

Interests:Endoscopy & Medical Education

Gastroenterology is an expanding specialty with a good variety of subspecialty interests for you to develop in the future. There is never a dull moment as the spectrum of clinical situations we encounter is arguably amongst the most challenging and exciting out there. I would highly recommend applying for Taster Membership to have a better grasp of what Gastroenterology and the BSG have to offer.

Ask Max a Question:
Dr Max Hu

Name: Dr Sujata Biswas

Representing: Oxford

Grade: ST6

Interests: Luminal gastroenterology with interest in endoscopy and IBD

I am a Gastro trainee and MRC clinical research training fellow in Oxford. I was drawn to Gastroenterology by the wide spectrum of disease and the diversity of the patient population. I like the contrast of acute emergencies with chronic illness management. It's certainly not a specialty you get bored in easily and there's of course plenty of scope for research. It won't disappoint!

Ask Sujata a Question:
Dr Sujata Biswas

Name: Dr Nidhi Sagar

Representing: West Midlands

Grade: Clinical Research Fellow in Gastroenterology (ST6)

Interests: Luminal gastroenterology, general hepatology and postgraduate medical education

Ask Nidhi a Question:
Dr Nidhi Sagar

Name: Dr Prakash Ramachandran

Representing: East of Scotland

Grade: ST4

Interests: Hepatology, Academic Medicine, Basic Science Research

Ask Prakash a Question:

Name: Dr Margaret Corrigan

Representing: Mersey

Grade: ST5

Interests: Hepatology, Medical Education

Ask Margaret a Question:

Name: Dr Shairoz Samji

Representing: Yorkshire & Humber

Grade: ST5

Interests: Endoscopy, Medical Education

Ask Shairoz a Question:

Name: Dr Durayd Alzoubaidi

Representing: East of England

Grade: ST5

Interests: Upper GI and Hepatology

Ask Durayd a Question:

Name: Dr Elaine Robertson

Representing: West of Scotland

Grade: ST5

Interests: General Gastroenterology with an interest in oesophageal disorders and IBD

I knew from early on that I wanted to do hospital medicine but wasn't sure about a specialty. One of the gastroenterology consultants that I worked with during my medical rotation was very enthusiastic. She encouraged me to come along to scope lists and supported my training in clinics and on the ward. A career in gastro was a natural progression. I definitely made the right decision. I really enjoy scoping and there's a good mix of clinical challenges from the patients with chronic illnesses like IBD to the acutely unwell patients with liver disease. I would highly recommend it!

Ask Elaine a Question:

Name: Dr Charlotte Ford

Representing: S Thames

Grade: ST6

Interests: IBD, Medical education

Ask Charlotte a Question:

Name: Dr Fergus JQ Chedgy

Representing: KSS

Grade: ST6 (Currently OOPR)

Interests: Advanced Endoscopy, Research, Barrett's Oesophagus

I am Gastroenterology registrar in the KSS region, currently taking time out to do research in Endoscopy. I have found Gastroenterology the perfect career choice as it offers a balance of both acute and chronic diseases, with the opportunity to develop practical skills in endoscopy. I don't think I could have chosen better!

Ask Fergus a Question:

Name: Dr Shivkumar Budihal

Representing: East Midlands

Grade: Speciality Registrar, ST6

Interests: Hepatobiliary Medicine and Advanced Endoscopy

Deanery: East Midlands South Deanery

Place of Work: University Hospitals Leicester

Ask Shivkumar a Question:

Name: Dr Liam Morris

Representing: North West

Grade: ST4

Interests: Medical education, Endoscopy

Ask Liam a Question:

I am an ST4 in the North West of England currently working in Blackpool. The diversity within gastroenterology is what drove me to the speciality. I find that the mix of practical skills and complex clinical situations keep the speciality interesting and challenging. It is also an evolving field with high quality research leading to regular changes in clinical practice. There is always more to learn!

Name: Dr Steve Dixon

Representing: Severn & South-West Peninsula

Grade: ST5

Interests: Endoscopy, Luminal Gastroenterology & Nutrition

Ask Steve a Question:

I am a gastroenterology registrar with a diverse range of interests. I'd be delighted to hear from anyone interested in the career.

Name: Dr Kesavan Kandiah

Representing: NW Thames

Grade: St6 (Currently in OOPR)

Interests:Luminal gastroenterology with interest in advanced endoscopy

Ask Kesavan a Question:

I am a gastroenterology SpR in the NW Thames rotation, currently in OOPR in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth. Finding a specialty that one would like to commit to for the rest of his/her life can be challenging. Gastroenterology was an easy choice for me. The case mix, the interdisciplinary team interaction and the technical skills required make this specialty a truly exciting one. I’m thoroughly enjoying my career in gastroenterology and am certain that i will continue to do so in the many years to come!

Name: Dr John Eccles

Representing: Northern Ireland

Grade: St5

Interests: Endoscopy, Medical Education

Ask John a Question:

Name: Dr Suranga Dharmasiri

Representing: Wessex

Grade: ST5 (OOPR)

Interests: IBD, Clinical and basic science research

Ask Suranga a Question:

I am a gastroenterology trainee in the Wessex region. I was attracted to gastroenterology early in my career as it offered the opportunity to work in several different settings and work closely with other specialities. My training has confirmed that this was a great choice for me. The procedural elements and clinics ensure that you don't get ward fatigue, while caring for patients on the ward means you keep those emergency situation where the adrenalin gets pumping. I have a speciality interest in IBD and I am engaged in both clinical and basic science research in this area. I look forward to speaking to any future potential gastroenterologists.

Name: Dr Michael Hewitt

Representing: CT2

Grade: CT2

Interests: Endoscopy, Hepatology

I am currently a core medical trainee with a strong interest in gastroenterology, having completed a BSc and two clinical posts in the specialty. The combination of practical skills with a diverse range of pathology and patient demographics makes it a very appealing career choice that I am looking to pursue.

Ask Michael a Question:

Name: Dr Giovanna Sheiybani

Representing: CT1

Grade: CT1

Interests: Endoscopy/Hepatology and Medical Education

I am currently a Trust Grade in Stroke medicine and I am due to start Core Medical Training in the Peninsula Deanery. My enthusiasm to pursue Gastroenterology in the future stems from working with very enthusiastic and practical Consultants from my Foundation Years. My aim is to specialise in Endoscopy or Hepatology.
Being involved in various projects in Gastroenterology and presenting at the BSG conferences, I have been able to thrust myself into the challenges of the practical and academic aspects of this field. Working in this field is immensely rewarding, even as a junior, and the variety of endoscopy, outpatient and inpatient work is what interests me. I have a great interest in medical education and I am currently developing an undergraduate course in using drama to demonstrate the patient narrative and to use these skills to improve history-taking.

Ask Giovanna a Question: