- What are we hoping to get out of ddW?
Before the creation of WAGE (2006) we pondered our identity in depth before choosing “Welsh Association for Gastroenterology and Endoscopy (WAGE)”.Many think we chose this title because we would be more likely to be noticed by our devolved administration, which was at the time known as the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)! The reality is that we wanted the Association to embrace all specialties with a GI and liver interest, and to include medical, nursing and other healthcare disciplines.
Wales has an unusual population distribution, with some 700,000 around the A55 corridor in the North, and 2.3m within reach of the M4. Our Annual Meeting has been held in mid-Wales for the last 13 years.WAGE has replaced the previous North- and South-Wales Gut Clubs.
The decision of BSG to hold its annual Away days once every four years in each of the devolved administrations has allowed us to run bigger and far more prestigious joint meetings (2014 and this Spring) than would otherwise be the case.Ultimately WAGE exists to further the interests of patients with GI and liver disease in Wales.Enabling delegates to listen to and interact with “big names”, both from BSG Council and from an international faculty, in a relatively compact setting (ddW) compared with BSG and the more established DDW should go a long way to furthering this aim.
Wales is currently in the headlines due to long waits for appointments and diagnostics, and higher cancer mortality than elsewhere.Many working in NHS Wales feel they are forever trying to fit “quarts into pint pots”.Informal discussions during our ddW meeting may aid sharing of experiences and discussions on responding to such challenges.
- What are we expecting delegates to take away from ddW?
The first draft of the Programme was drawn up in July 2017, but scrapped two months later when we agreed that we would aim to create a mini-Digestive Diseases Federation meeting in Wales.As I see it, we have taken a bold gamble to go for an all-inclusive meeting, where WAGE, Welsh Surgical Society and the Welsh Chapters of ACPGBI and AUGIS gave up their normal Spring meetings to join together in an effort to create the largest gastroenterological meeting that Wales has hosted since BSG came to Cardiff in 1986.
Each “stakeholder” organisation has led on the composition of a session, and there are two State-of-Art addresses from the lead international authorities in their fields, as well as two interactive symposia on the Friday.This model has meant that the programme evolution has had a longer gestation period than we would have wished.Many have said that they love the look of the programme but they did not receive it sufficiently ahead of time.We are confident, however, that those of us lucky to be at the meeting will learn a great deal and be able to network, hopefully with a view to setting up sustainable friendships, affiliations and collaborations.