NEPMG from Transmitter 2014

The NEPG presented its 6th Annual Meeting on Friday 6th June 2014.

Like the five that preceded it, this was an all day event which has become a much valued fixture in the annual pain conference calendar. The popularity of this meeting is a direct consequence of the highest aspirations of its founders, Dr Manohar Sharma and Dr Sanjeeva Gupta. Their vision was to create a high quality regional Pain Medicine meeting to cater specifically for the unique educational needs of pain physicians in the locality of the North of England, with both speakers and delegates drawn primarily from the region.

Central to this vision is that the topics delivered are of specific interest to pain physicians, helping them keep up to date with current thinking in related areas of medical practice as well as specific Pain Medicine topics, covering all aspects relevant to the management of chronic, acute and cancer pain. The meeting has been fortunate to garner national and international speakers, many of whom practice Pain Medicine within the North of England region, as well as renowned speakers from other allied areas of medicine, surgery, palliative medicine, and other relevant topics, for example the changing healthcare economy and commissioning. The multidisciplinary nature of our work in the Pain Clinic is well recognised within the group and represented each year with relevant presentations from non-medical colleagues from within Pain Clinic practice. 

In addition to the formal presentations, there is ample time for questions from the floor, and often lively debate ensues. It is frequently a particular duty incumbent on the chair to limit this interaction to time, such is the enthusiasm and interaction shared between speaker and floor! Informal discussion and networking continues during coffee and lunch breaks. 

The meeting is held in Huddersfield, central to the region as a whole. Such is the increasing popularity of the event year on year that it draws approximately 100 attendees (the capacity of our current venue). Plans are afoot to move to an alternative venue nearby to cater for an expected modest increase in applicants. The meeting is currently free of charge, and is recognised for at least 5 RCoA CPD points (both of which factors are undoubtedly a draw), though the fact that so many attendees re-attend year on year indicates how well the meeting caters to their specific educational needs as evidenced by consistently excellent feedback and high quality suggestions for future meeting topics. 

It is particularly valued by Higher and Advanced Pain Trainees who get the opportunity to network and meet acknowledged experts, liaise with each other informally, and have the opportunity to present their original work in poster form. A short business meeting rounds off the day, which is open to all. Debate fosters continuous refinement on all aspects of meeting content and delivery, reaffirming the founding principles. The meeting is sponsored by Pfizer, although there is no influence on the educational content whatsoever. We are grateful to Pfizer for their continued support. 

NEPG has a Steering Committee, made up of one-two representatives from each of the locality pain groups, which act together as the constituency for the North of England Pain Group. These are the Mersey Pain Group (represented by Dr Rajiv Chawla and Dr Sumit Gulati), the Pennine Pain Interest Group (represented by Dr Dimple Vyas and Dr Louise Lynch), the Northern Region Pain Group (represented by Dr Ashish Gulve), the North West Pain Group (represented by Dr Arun Baskar), the East Yorkshire and Humberside Pain Group (represented by Dr Bhaskar Tandon and Dr Ashwin Mallaya), and the South Yorkshire Pain Group (represented by Dr Sameer Gupta). 

Dr Sharma and Dr Gupta are to be lauded for the clarity of their vision as the annual meeting has been very successful since its inception. I am grateful to them and the Steering Committee for giving me the pleasant task of chairing NEPG.