Defining strategy for ACPGBI and Colorectal Disease

Posted 17 February 2017 in

The Executive met recently in Birmingham to further define our strategy and objectives for the Association. The purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of the major outcomes of this very productive day and in addition, to explain in detail our plans for the Colorectal Disease journal.

External Affairs

Mark Chapman (Chair) confirmed that the new website is up and running. The functionality of the site is much better and he was congratulated that this large piece of work has been completed.

It was acknowledged that Alice Brook had put enormous effort into this project. I hope that all members will now feedback to Mark or Alice with further ideas on how to improve the website going forward.

The strategy for the External Affairs Committee, however, is broader than just the website. Pressing early objectives include:

  • A communication strategy
  • Political engagement
  • Royal patronage
  • The relationship between colorectal surgeons and the delivery of emergency general surgery.

The Association now has over 1200 members. Increasing numbers of nurses and trainees are joining and it is hoped that this will increase in the future. The President-in-Waiting (Brendan Moran) will now have responsibility for membership linking in with external affairs which also aims to broaden our reach to other societies, particularly ASGBI and abroad.

Future work needs to be done in engaging patients, the public and charities. ACPGBI needs to invest in information dissemination about colorectal disease and its prevention.

Research and Audit

Nicola Fearnhead (Chair) outlined a catalogue of research innovation and achievement over the last year. Her commitment is second to none and her vibrant committee have achieved outstanding work. Succession planning is crucial for this committee.

Innovative Delphi projects in association with our charity BDRF were a highlight of the year. It is hoped that these will continue and maintain their present momentum. It was recognised that the chairs of our committees rely on their members’ drive, initiative and enthusiasm. It is the committees that drive the Association forward.

The recent Welsh Outcomes Audit was discussed as a future exemplar role for the Association. We look forward to the ileal pouch database with early results hopefully being available for Bournemouth.  The recently launched NASBO Audit (now has over 160 trusts participating) will provide insight for future studies and benefit patient care. Nursing research is very much a part of the strategy and Jay Bradbury (who is the new Chair of ACPN) is keen for all nurses to participate.

Multidisciplinary Clinical Committee

Charles Maxwell Armstrong outlined strategy for the Multidisciplinary Clinical Committee. This group whilst very diverse will retain its present structure. Several consensus documents are being planned over the next twelve months  (some very relevant to commissioning). Terms of reference for the relevant sub-groups and the objectives of this committee are to be found in the detailed strategy document.  The Management of Colorectal Cancer Guidelines are almost ready for publication.

Education and Training

James Wheeler gave an account of his committee’s activities over the last twelve months. The coloproctology tutors are now in place, with a successful motorway course and Edinburgh conference being highlights of the year. A lot of work has been done in the relationship to the Royal Colleges. The first ACPGBI badged TaTME course and intercollegiate fellowships were discussed in detail, as was the revision to the syllabus in coloproctology. The relationship to EBSQ will form part of the forthcoming year’s work. Chapter involvement in education was discussed in detail and remains a high priority for the Association. Combined meetings with other societies to disseminate knowledge amongst our trainees and colleagues may be the way forward. Educational partnerships with Industry were felt to be beneficial.


Baljit Singh confirmed the society remains in a good financial position, the Edinburgh meeting being particularly successful, in terms of its surplus. The disbursement of funds was discussed in detail. There are no plans for an increase in membership subscription for the forthcoming year but educational and research grants are being made more freely available. ACPGBI may encourage medical students who are interested in surgery to be associated with the society.

President-Elect Jim Hill gave his thoughts for his year in charge. Jim felt an early direction of travel would be a) to encourage surgeons to join us, who are not members of the ACPGBI for whom we publish clinical outcomes and b) to define the place of colorectal surgeons in the delivery of emergency general surgery. Workforce issues also remain a priority.  Jim’s particular wish is to advance the prospect of a national approach to the management of advanced colorectal cancers with a development of an ‘MDT meeting network’ nationally (combining potentially with liver MDT’s).

Brendan Moran (President-in-Waiting) felt further collaborative work with, for example the RSM, would be beneficial and a strategy concerning the future venues of the Association’s annual meeting combined with a new membership strategy were on his agenda.

Paul Finan (Shadow Trustee) noted that the Memorandum, the Articles of Association and the Constitution need revision. This work has now started and this will be put forward for AGM ratification in Bournemouth.

Professor Peter Sagar examined the risk register. The item of most importance is the risk of our administration suddenly being unable to support us through either illness or accident.  Anne O’Mara and Alice Brook’s roles are crucial. It was agreed that an urgent strategy for succession planning, particularly in this area of our society was very important for security and work is progressing.

Colorectal Disease Journal

In recent years the Colorectal Disease Journal has struggled financially and remains a risk. The impact factor, the lack of penetration of the journal into Europe (which has no specialist journal in this area) and its major competitors Diseases of Colon and Rectum and Techniques in Coloproctology are additional risks. After much consideration by Executive and Council, the Journal Committee were empowered to enter discussions with ESCP with a view for co-ownership.

The benefits to an arrangement with ESCP include increased impact factor, raising the profile of the journal and sharing the risk of financial failure. ACPGBI Executive and Council supported a 50-50 share of ownership. The current agreement between Wiley (the publishers) terminates in 2018. There is therefore a real opportunity to renegotiate the contract favourably. At a meeting between the ACPGBI Journal Committee and the ESCP on Monday 19 December 2016, the following terms were agreed:

  1. A newly formed journal committee would consist of the Presidents of Societies, the Secretaries and the Treasurers with a representative of Wiley and the Editor in Chief. This group will have an annual meeting at the ESCP meeting (as before). This will be a detailed examination of the Journal’s direction and progress.
  2. ESCP have agreed that the subscription to the journal will be exactly the same for each member as that of a ACPGBI member.
  3. There will be no duplication of membership fees for members of both societies.
  4. Wiley will continue to risk share, should there be financial failure.
  5. The new arrangements will need legal underpinning in particular to ensure equanimity of risk.
  6. The President of the ACPGBI will continue to be the Chair of the newly formed journal committee for the foreseeable future.
  7. These proposals need to be ratified by the Executives and Councils of both Societies.

I firmly believe these arrangements will secure the future of the journal. If there are any issues that need further investigation, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]
I need to record that I (you) are very privileged to have such an active and excellent Executive, who are totally focused on the ACPGBI direction and future. If anyone is interested in being engaged in this process or thinks they can bring further expertise to our strategy, then please do not hesitate to contact me – [email protected] 

Peter Dawson, PresidentWe are now looking forward to a busy Spring and Summer of meetings, including our session at the ASGBI, the Tripartite and our Bournemouth meeting, which I really hope will be something rather different for members to enjoy.

With very best wishes for 2017

Peter Dawson, President ACPGBI 2016-17