After a long 18 months of the pandemic, with all face to face meetings having been cancelled, there was a huge sense of anticipation about the 5th ESRA Monothematic meeting, held in Portugal in early October. It was fully booked soon after registration opened! With a combination of engaging faculty, enthusiastic delegates and a beautiful setting, the meeting exceeded expectations!
From left to right: Eva Roofthooft, Clara Lobo, Chris Elton, Sarah Devroe, Nuala Lucas
The scientific focus of the meeting was obstetric anaesthesia. This has been a challenging area during the pandemic as, by necessity, it has had to be ‘business as usual’ in all our maternity units. The Monothematic meeting provided an exciting opportunity to update our knowledge in this vital area of regional anaesthesia and, of course, a chance to recharge our batteries.
Marc Van de Velde and Nuala Lucas developed a programme that covered a discussion of the full range of obstetric anaesthetic practice. Pre-pandemic, the European faculty were due to be joined by some colleagues from the States, but with the ongoing travel restrictions, our American colleagues were unable to join in person. Nevertheless, with event expertise developed during the pandemic, the US faculty delivered their contributions virtually.
«Each session comprised lectures and panel discussions. Plenty of time was allowed for questions […]»
The meeting ran over five days; following the introductory session on Monday evening, the rest of the educational content was delivered on the mornings of Tuesday to Friday. Each session comprised lectures and panel discussions. Plenty of time was allowed for questions, and there was fantastic engagement from delegates with lots of lively debate. Following the drought of face to face contact imposed by the pandemic, there was an almost celebratory feel in the desire of all participants to share their experiences and knowledge on obstetric anaesthesia. Lunch for faculty and delegates was held on the ground’s of the hotel every day and was universally a friendly and warm occasion where family, including little ones, joined.
It is difficult to pick out particular highlights, but some elements and contributions to the meeting deserve mention. The panel discussion with Marc, Nuala, Eva Roofthooft and Chris Elton about neurological problems in obstetric anaesthesia – an essential but often neglected area; Clara Lobo’s entertaining and thought-provoking talk about women’s role in anaesthesia and finally, congratulations to the poster winners Dr Gillian Crowe and Dr Catarina Pinto.
The meeting was supported by the wonderful ESRA team with fantastic onsite support from the unflappable Beatrice Torri.
The ESRA Monothematic meeting goes from strength to strength, offering innovative and engaging continuing professional development. We are already excited about the 2022 Monothematic meeting, which will be held on 3-7th October 2022!
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