The Research section of the website has been overhauled and shaken-up like a Boris Johnson cabinet. Deadwood and fallen leaves have been cleared so it is now clearer, leaner, meaner, but most of all, up-to-date. The BAPS believes in, is passionate about and sponsors research. Indeed it is part of our Founding Fathers’ manifesto. We hope that the website continues to reflect this commitment.
So, what is new? Well there are quite nice pictures of all the members of the Research Committee! This includes not only the newer more photogenic consultant members such as Mike Stanton and Nick Lansdale but also our junior representatives Hannah Rhodes and Rachel Harwood. The committee is primarily there in connection with the scientific side of the BAPS Congress (remember those?) and abstract selection. But, it also considers requests for national surveys to the membership, of which there are an increasing number of course.
One of the main ways to show commitment to research of course is to pump money into Research Fellowships. We have had a good track record in this over the years in concert with the English Royal College of Surgeons. I have now listed previous recipients of these awards on the web-site just to show it can be done with achievements and publications highlighted. I’m talking about such luminaries as Kevin Cao, Ian Jones, Naomi Wright, Laura Jackson and the ubiquitous Hannah Rhodes. These are the go-to guys for all that’s new in cystinuria, aquaporins, remote ischaemic conditioning in NEC, gastroschisis in sub-Saharan Africa and bladder dysfunction in urethral valves which shows us there is nothing too small and too niche that can’t be the subject of dedicated investigation. Future candidates for such posts need to get their act together for applications now as the deadline at the College is February 2021.
Research should also be a top priority for more established paediatric surgeons. Everyone signs up for it in all Job Descriptions for newly-appointed consultants, and I as an external representative on many an appointment committee, hear candidates swear on the lives of their first-born to continue their stellar research careers if only they are the ones appointed. Now, I appreciate that it is unlikely to involve putting the final touches to the latest COVID-19 vaccine, genetic remodelling using CRISPR or constructing national randomised control trials into something really useful. Still, we all have that potential and one way BAPS has supported an inclusive way is to sponsor the Multicentre Collaborative Research Initiative. This is led by Nigel Hall (email@example.com), who has set up a Clinical Studies Group, and is looking to establish a UK-wide network of willing consultants. There are a number of active projects in the portfolio such as:
(the most tenuous acronym known to man! Children with AppendicitiS during the CoronAvirus panDEmic)
This is a national observational cohort study assessing the impact of COVID-19 on treatment and outcomes of appendicitis in children. Data collection ran from April to July 2020 with follow-up ongoing. More information – CASCADEstudy2020@gmail.com
Timing of Stoma Closure in Neonates
ToSCiN is a mixed methods study that aims to answer the question: is it feasible to conduct a clinical trial comparing ‘early’ vs. ‘late’ stoma closure in neonates? The study started in late 2019 and will run for 2 years. There are several workstreams including a survey for surgeons to complete and qualitative work with clinicians and parents. It is being led by Nick Lansdale (Manchester) and supported by the NPEU in Oxford.
For further information: https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/toscin
We have also added a new page within the TRIPs section of the website to reflect the junior members’ self-driven initiative. This is the:
Paediatric Surgical Trainees Research Network (PSTRN)
The PSTRN, as they like to be known, is UK-wide network of committed trainees who are also followers of the research creed. Rachel Harwood in Liverpool is the current chair of the core committee that provides support, guidance and practical input for ongoing projects. They meet (virtually) once a month to discuss current projects and new ideas and have set up their own website curated by Sesi Hotonu to advertise their intentions and on-going projects. One such project the BLAST (Blunt Liver and Spleen Trauma) study has come to fruition and is currently under consideration as a paper in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery.
Contact e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Research really should be a constant in the lives of professional paediatric surgeons. There is so much we do not know and ignorance is really not bliss. We haven’t cured cancer. Donald Trump is still in the White House. There are even some crazy people out there saying you can cure appendicitis with antibiotics. Remember only research will prove them wrong. Have a look at the website. Let me know if you think we should include other projects or initiatives……Get Involved…