The recent Dukes’ Club virtual event was our biggest educational event to date, with over 1000 delegates registering for sessions across a jam-packed exhausting but inspiring week.

We are hugely grateful to our brilliant speakers and generous sponsors, and to ACPGBI for their support in delivering this fantastic event.

We started by opening up online voting for our new Dukes’ Club committee. Over 130 members voted and I delighted to announce the committee for the next 12 months’ is as follows:

  • Vice-president – Panchali Sarmah
  • Secretary – Philippa Orchard
  • Education and Training – Jordan Fletcher
  • Research and Audit – Mo Rabie
  • JAG endoscopy – Nigel D’Souza
  • Pelvic Floor and proctology – Belle Williams
  • IBD and abdominal wall – Kaps Sahnan
  • Advanced Cancer – Helen Mohan
  • Emergency General Surgery – Niamh Foley
  • ASiT – Charlotte El-Sayed

At our virtual AGM, our outgoing president and outgoing committee updated us on events and achievements over their terms. We are grateful to Miss Deena Harji and all the outgoing committee for their relentless dedication and hard work over the last 18 months. We, then dived straight into our Sunday evening highlight – ‘A conversation with ACPGBI Presidents’ with Miss Nicola Fearnhead and Prof Steve Brown being quizzed about a range of topics – their ideal celebrity and colorectal dinner date, their training experiences and opinions on current training and who inspired them to become surgical leaders.

Every day of the virtual week saw a varied assortment of operative video sessions, Spotlight sessions, training hacks and keynote lectures.

On Monday, our first video session was beamed across the oceans from Japan, with Dr Akio Shiomi, Shizuoka Cancer Center, Japan giving an expertly delivered session on approaches to Pelvic Sidewall Lymphadenectomy. During the week, we were treated to more phenomenal videos, on the Kono-S Anastomosis from Dr Alessandro Fichera, University Medical Centre, Dallas, Approaches to Rectovaginal Fistula from Miss Karen Telford, Manchester and Parastomal Hernia Repair from Professor Fillip Muysoms, AZ Maria Middelares, Belgium.

The lunchtime Spotlight sessions bought experts from across the world talking about interesting and controversial topics. The first of these was a comprehensive tour of colorectal trauma, with global insights from Miss Kate Hancorn, Dr Scott Steele, and Dr Adam Boutall. This was a particular highlight and is strongly recommended to consultants and trainees alike (especially as exams loom). This was followed by ‘Colorectal Training Across Continents’ with Mr Joshua Burke, Dr Shreya Gupta, USA, Dr Ruth Blanco Colino, Europe, and Dr Kavitha Chetty, South Africa. On Wednesday, we focussed in on all things ‘anastomosis’, with tips and tricks from Mr Mark Potter from Edinburgh, technologies to help assess anastomoses with new and emerging technologies to help prevent anastomotic leak from Professor Pat Sylla, Mount Sinai Hospital, USA, how to salvage the anastomotic leak, with Dr Roel Hompes, AMC, Amsterdam, Netherlands and the role of defunctioning stoma with Professor Quentin Denost, Bordeaux. Our final spotlight was a brilliant and informative session from the Intestinal Failure team at Salford, which I would strongly recommend to all colorectal trainees.

Our keynotes finished each virtual day. On Monday Professor Danail Stoyanov, Professor of Robot Vision at College London gave us a fascinating look into the future, on Tuesday our advanced malignancy subcommittee helped mediate some passionate opinions during our debate on Complete Mesocolic Excision. On Wednesday Associate Professor Amy Lightner from the Cleveland Clinic talked on Personalising IBD Treatments and our final keynote was a persuasive appraisal of Complete Clinical Response – The New Gold Standard for Rectal Cancer’ by Dr Rodigro Perez from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

We rounded off our cadaveric teaching series in collaboration with the advanced malignancy subcommittee on Wednesday evening, with another masterclass of pelvic anatomy demonstrated by Mr Ben Griffiths on approaches to male and female pelvic exenteration.

We are eternally grateful to all speakers who gave up their time to help create a memorable and valuable event.

It looks set to be a busy year ahead for Dukes’, whilst the uncertainty of COVID-19 continues, we have plans to expand our virtual portfolio of educational courses and symposia throughout the year. We will be kickstarting this with ‘Colorectal Classrooms’ delivered by our subspecialty reps, starting in the autumn – watch this space! We are all hoping to meet face to face again next year for ACPGBI and our annual weekend which is planned for September. Meanwhile, we are working hard to update and improve our fellowship database, and deliver fellowship showcase sessions to see what life is like for colorectal fellows across the world.

I am looking forward to working with The Dukes’ Club committee and the ACPGBI council over the next 12 months to provide high quality education, research and training opportunities for all colorectal trainees.

If you have any suggestions or wish to discuss anything regarding our work, please email me on (Twitter – @pvaughanshaw).

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Apply to join us via ACPGBI’s website and then register here to gain the associated member benefits.