COLLEGE OF MEDICINE AND HEALTH
Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions

The South West Plastic Surgery Conference Q & A

Continued success for Exeter’s national student-led plastic surgery conference

Exeter Medicine students have had a second year of success with their highly acclaimed South West Plastic Surgery Conference, designed to inspire students and junior doctors about a career in Plastic Surgery.

On 2nd March 2019, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital played host to over 90 students attending the conference from across the country and overseas. The conference, now in its second year, looked to build on the huge success of the inaugural event by opening the invite to to a national audience.

The Exeter Surgical Society (ExeSS) continued last year’s momentum and secured funding from the Exeter Alumni Annual Fund. They also secured over £2000 in sponsorship from organisations including the Royal College of Surgeons, Wesleyan and the Medical Defence Union, also maintaining strong ties with the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT).

The event saw lectures from leading Plastic Surgeons, such as Mr Peter Saxby, who helped to set up the Plastic Surgery Unit at the Hospital in 1991. It also included practical workshops and an expert question and answer panel available for the students to enhance their learning and understanding of the plastic surgery discipline.

The conference was hosted by ExeSS patron, Professor Vikram Devaraj, Consultant Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Associate Professor and Clinical Lead for the Anatomy Discipline Group at the University of Exeter Medical School.

Professor Devaraj said: “There were superb talks, workshops and opportunities to share experience. The conference was another chance to light fires allowing learners to immerse themselves in the art of reconstructive surgery. Every expert was a beginner once. Seeing several former students, now junior doctors, elegantly demonstrating basic suturing and tendon repairs as part of the teaching group was a pretty spectacular validation of ‘near-peer learning’, where those just one step further in their careers guide the learners. The next generation of physicians and surgeons to care for us were definitely in the house echoing Einstein’s motto ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow’.”

Waheed-Ul-Rahman Ahmed, ExeSS President and Founder and Chair of the Conference said: “It has been an honour to set up this initiative in Exeter and raise the profile of the University of Exeter Medical School. Events like this usually take place in London or the Midlands so it’s a real coup for students to have access to this level of expertise locally. Many of the attendees have said how well the conference has gone and that they are looking forward to coming back again next year. I am very proud of the committee members that have helped with making this year’s conference a success, it is my dream that this initiative runs for many years to come.”

At the Exeter Student’s Guild Awards, the 2018 conference was awarded ‘highly acclaimed’ event of the year and the ExeSS will be hoping this year they win the same award. Waheed himself was also presented the prestigious ‘Exeter University Student Leader of the Year’ award for his contributions to the Medicine Students experience.

Whilst the conference was the main focus of the day, the ExeSS also included information about their new outreach programme they are hoping will be a success. For their first visit they headed to Exeter College in December 2018 to kick-start their vision of enthusing younger students about the possibilities of becoming a surgeon. Whilst this is in its early stages, the society is hoping to be able to roll this out formally across the South West in the coming years.

Date: 8 March 2019

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