Aspects of Pain – MWF Spring Conference 2013, Oxford
It was with much anticipation that I attended the MWF Spring 2013 conference, which this year took place in the historical city of Oxford.
The event kicked off on the Thursday evening with a, somewhat wet, but much enjoyed guided tour of the famous landmarks of Oxford's city centre, where members were treated to glimpses inside the beautiful colleges and entertained with interesting facts about Tolkien, Lewis Caroll and much more. This was followed by a delicious dinner at a city centre restaurant.
On the conference day itself the atmosphere was buzzing, having attracted the largest audience I've ever seen at an MWF event - around 120 delegates - and a good representation from medical students through to retired members.
The day started off with the most up to date functional MRI pain research from Professor Irene Tracy's research group. She was unable to attend herself, but the findings were eloquently and expertly presented by Dr Vishvarami Wanigasekera, a last minute substitute.
This year's Dame Hilda Rose Memorial lecture, given by Dr Jane Moore, highlighted the high prevalence of chronic pelvic pain in the female population (1 in 6) and the importance of the teasing out of other, non-gynaecological contributory factors, both physical and psychological, in our management of this often debilitating condition.
It was impressive to see such a high calibre of oral abstract presentations, especially from the two medical student entrants. The judges had a hard time choosing a winner! Congratulations to Nida Kalyal from Kings College London, who won the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Prize with her presentation of the breast cancer awareness project that she has helped to implement in the London borough of Newham. The emotional aspect brought a tear to many eyes in the process
After lunch workshops ran smoothly and provided a good range of subjects. Professor Michael Sharpe's talk highlighted the continuing debate surrounding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome vs ME and was highly relevant for today's practising doctors.
Dr Peggy Frith's session on ATHENA Swan awards proved that there definitely is a continuing role for the MWF, even in the modern world of supposed equality of the sexes. It also provided a lively discussion at Saturdays council meeting.
And Professor Raymond Tallis rounded off the talks with his excellently laid-out philosophical argument in favour of the controversial issue of Assisted dying.
The conference dinner in the magnificent Somerville college hall gave a perfect opportunity for catching up and talking with the day's speakers. The after dinner speaker, Katherine Whitehorn, entertained us beautifully with her most appropriate agony aunt-esque talk on the current issues face by the older population!
Many thanks to all involved with organisation of the event, workshop leaders, sponsors and those helping out on the day. It was an excellently educational and thought provoking event.
Dr Helen MacMullen,
MWF Past Presidents enjoying the Sommerville formal dinner
Front Row L-R: Dr Joan Trowell, Dr Clarissa Fabre, Dr Pauline Brimblecombe, Dr Fiona Cornish, Prof. Selena Gray, Dr Melanie Davies, Dr Helen Goodyear Back Row L-R: Prof. Wendy Savage, Dr Melanie Jones, Miss Sue Ward, Dr Fiona Subotsky, Dr Judith Chapman, Dr Gillian Markham