A week in the sun at #ACPGBI2018

Summer always means one thing for BDRF – a trip to mingle with the top surgeons, nurses and other professionals in our field at the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland’s (ACPGBI) annual meeting.

This year’s conference in Birmingham didn’t disappoint, and not just in terms of the glorious weather.

We were on a mission to raise awareness and funds to help us do even more top quality bowel disease research – succeeding mightily on both counts. All week delegates and fellow exhibitors took on our 1 minute ‘randomised cycle challenge’ which had two big aims – raising funds and spreading the word about the Prepare-ABC trial, which tests the benefits of exercise for patients undergoing bowel cancer surgery.

Beyond the exhibition hall, BDRF studies past and present were taking centre stage and making waves for all the right reasons, including the award of our first ever grant for research into robotic-assisted colorectal surgery. We also saw a BDRF keynote lecture on how our funding has helped international trials change treatment and improve lives, and got our teeth into the flagship Vision 2020 programme. The groundbreaking NASBO audit was also presented to surgeons on how to improve care for people with small bowel obstruction.

Read on for a full recap!

Cycle Challenge

Every challenger was in with a chance of being randomly selected to win an iPad – although clearly bragging rights for the furthest rider were also on offer. The big prize was scooped by fellow exhibitor Mark Hudson-Peacock of eXroid – so congratulations to him! And also to the joint winners of the distance challenge, Ben Box and Dean Harris, who pipped Toby Richards in the final lunch session by recording distances of 0.57 of a mile.

We are incredibly grateful to every single participant, whose £10 donations will ensure we are able to do even more of the sort of exciting research that was on display throughout the conference. You have all played a part in making sure we keep spreading the word and delivering ever greater advances in patient care.

Keynote lecture

The conference’s BDRF keynote lecture was delivered by Birmingham-based research guru Professor Dion Morton. His talk centred on how randomised controlled trials are directly benefiting patients and improving practice both nationally and internationally.


Dion highlighted a huge proliferation in surgical research and the improvements to treatment and thus outcomes for patients this is yielding. He paid particular tribute to BDRF’s role in funding and supporting the very first stages of surgical trials which are now changing practice on a global scale, in particular the DREAMS trial, whose findings have already been taken up into international surgical guidelines.

2020 Vision

Future ACPGBI President and BDRF Trustee Nicola Fearnhead also set out the objectives of ACP’s flagship 2020 Vision programme.

Enormously exciting, the programme brings together specialist associations from the USA,

UK & Europe and Australia and New Zealand to set global research priorities. The next Tripartite meeting of specialists from these regions takes place in 2020, where the aim is to agree on the major challenges facing specialists, and then collaborate towards finding answers as an international community.


Nicola’s session certainly built anticipation for this work and we can’t wait to see the next developments! You can read more on our involvement in this instalment of our CEO’s blog.

Robotics Research award

Robotic-assisted surgery is an exciting area of study for the future – and now BDRF have awarded our first ever grant into the topic. The study brings together leading specialists from across the UK and around the world. Together, they will run a wide-ranging patient and public consultation exercise, with the aim of establishing consensus on how to move forward with integrating robotic technology into everyday surgical care.

We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of research into one of the most exciting new fields of medical research, and looking forward to the results of the work.


Last but not least, highlights from the National Audit of Small Bowel Obstruction (NASBO) were presented at a special session looking at emergency surgery.

Small Bowel Obstruction is a potentially deadly problem, feared by many surgeons as it can be very difficult to identify and treat. Costs to patients’ wellbeing and the NHS are very high, and there is an urgent need to improve guidelines on care for people affected.

BDRF funded the majority of NASBO’s work in doing just that in the last 2 years. Click here to read the full findings of the audit