A few days prior to ESCP Dublin 2015, twelve senior trainees in coloproctology took part in pre-congress placements at six centres of excellence in Ireland. The host centres welcomed the trainees for two days, allowing them to participate in each centre’s day-to-day clinical activities. Here are the trainees' reports.

Gabrielle van RamshorstGabrielle van Ramhorst

From: VU Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Visited: St Vincent’s University Hospital, under the direction of Prof. Ronan O’Connell

Two days before the official start of the 2015 ESCP meeting in Dublin, I visited Prof. Ronan O’Connell at St. Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin. After a warm welcome and introduction to the staff members, we enjoyed a tour of the hospital’s building.

Personally, I was very impressed with the newly built private hospital. Fortunately, it was a perfect autumn day and the views of the sea from the top of the hospital wing were impressive.

The operating theatres were large and well-equipped, and we were able to view a couple of procedures on Monday and Tuesday, including a laparoscopic subtotal colectomy by Prof. Des Winter. On Tuesday, we were able to attend the multidisciplinary meeting which was perfectly prepared.

Most interestingly, photographs of the extracted specimens were shown in addition to live microscopy by the senior pathologist. Unexpectedly, our discussions with the staff about the organisation of health care and of colorectal surgery in particular were of greatest value to me. The entire experience has inspired me to think in more depth about the organisation of colorectal surgery and my personal interests in the subfields of colorectal surgery.

Yuksel AltinelYuksel Altinel

From: Istanbul Bagcilar Training and Research Hospital, Turkey
Visited: St. Vincent’s University Hospital, under the direction of Prof Ronan O’Connell

I was honoured to be selected for the ESCP pre-congress placements 2015 in Dublin. I had the great opportunity to spend two days at the unit of coloproctology at St. Vincent’s Hospital under the direction of Prof Ronan O’Connell. It was a unique opportunity to get acquainted with advanced colorectal surgery in Dublin. I saw many colorectal operations and procedures at St. Vincent’s University Hospital - some for the first time. I have extensive experience in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, colon and rectal cancer. Most of the operations are performed laparoscopically, which was the main interest of mine. Professor Ronan O’Connell shared with me his surgical experience, his knowledge about the history of university hospital, Dublin and answered many of my questions. I want to thank Professor Ronan O’Connell and Ms Ann Hanly for this opportunity. It was a wonderful time, with great benefit for my professional growth. I am very grateful to ESCP, and all those who helped and supported me during this visit.

Diederik MeylemansDiederik Meylemans

From: Jessa Hospital Hasselt, Belgium
Visited: Mercy University Hospital Cork, under the direction of Mr Emmet Andrews

The ESCP pre-congress placement has granted me the unique opportunity to meet a dedicated colorectal surgeon (Mr Andrews, Mercy and University College Hospitals Cork) and his trainees. It was very interesting to see and interact first hand with him and his team during a wide variety of specially selected cases (SNS placement, Altemeier, stoma reversal, sigmoid resection etc). This made it possible to get a taste of colorectal surgery at university level in Ireland. He really went out of his way to welcome me and my pre-congress placement colleague during our stay. Everything was perfectly organised and he made sure we had a great time. I'll remember this experience, his hospitality and especially the surgical tips and tricks I've learned from him and I'm sure to incorporate into my daily practice.

Nikola HendersonNikola Henderson

From: Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, United Kingdom
Visited: Mercy University Hospital Cork, under the direction of Mr Emmet Andrews

I was a guest of Mr Emmett Andrews, consultant colorectal surgeon in Cork and spent a very worthwhile couple of days with him in Mercy University Hospital and also Cork University Hospital. We were able to see him perform a large number of laparoscopic colorectal cancer operations and a very challenging and beautifully executed laparoscopic reversal of Hartmann's procedure. The second day was focused on disorders of the pelvic floor and we were treated to a varied program of procedures such as sacral nerve stimulation and perineal rectal resection. I was able to see a different healthcare system as well as different techniques of approaching a surgical problem, I was welcomed into the team and also took part in the ward rounds.

Karl KodedaKarl Kodeda

From: Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden
Visited: University College Hospital Galway, under the direction of Mr Myles Joyce

I am truly grateful for the kind hospitality shown to me during my visit to the University College Hospital Galway. It is always rewarding to visit other surgical departments and take part in the clinical work of colleagues abroad. Even better so when my host, Mr Myles Joyce, is such a pleasant man and truly talented surgeon, who took time out of his busy itinerary to organise a full programme for two visiting surgeons. We were able to attend ward-rounds, a busy out-patient clinic, and a full day in theatre and also visit the newly constructed research facilities. On a personal level this visit was also a kind remembrance of a year in the 1990s when I was an exchange student from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. I had the opportunity to spend a full academic year in the surgical department in Galway and sit my final med exams.

My pre-congress placement was truly inspiring and I strongly support the ESCP in pursuing the tradition of facilitating personal encounters and visits across borders. We always have things to learn from our peers!

Nasra AlamNasra Alam

From: Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital, United Kingdom
Visited: University College Hospital Galway, under the direction of Mr Myles Joyce

I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days at the University College Hospital in Galway before attending the ESCP conference in Dublin. I was welcomed by Miles Joyce and had the opportunity to observe the day to day management of colorectal patients in both an inpatient and outpatient setting. I was able to observe a variety of elective colorectal operations, many of which were laparoscopic. I was pleased to see the vast extent of multi-disciplinary team work which took place, with different surgeons from a mixture of surgical specialities working together to achieve the best possible outcome for their patients. During my placement, I was shown around the newly built medical school and the associated research laboratories. The generosity and hospitality of Miles Joyce and his team made the experience very enjoyable. I also took some time to do some sightseeing. Needless to say - I am sure I will visit again soon!

Manish ChandManish Chand

From: Royal County Hampshire Hospital, United Kingdom
Visited: University Hospital Limerick, under the direction of Prof Calvin Coffey

I was fortunate enough to be placed at University Hospital Limerick under the guidance of Professor Coffey. I was offered a detailed insight into the workings of the hospital and specifically, the colorectal team. Professor Coffey and his colleagues were thoroughly delightful as hosts and made me feel very welcome.

In addition to the advanced clinical work they are carrying out, there is fantastic cutting edge research taking place with the use of digital and platform based technologies to optimise patient care.

I very much hope to be able to collaborate with them in the future and am glad to have made new colleagues and friends in Limerick.

Muhammad Imran AslamMuhammad Imran Aslam

From: Northampton General Hospital, United Kingdom
Visited: Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, under the direction of Ms Deborah McNamara

All credit to ESCP and the surgical team in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin for providing this exciting opportunity to visit and observe surgical practices.

I was welcomed by Ms McNamara, Mr. Deasy and Ms Faul in MDT and later in their operating theatres. Surgical trainees at the department provided the essential direction and support throughout this placement.

As a trainee, I observed new practices in operating theatre, MDT meeting and inpatient care. It was really impressive to see research facilities associated with RCSI and Beaumont Hospital.

Petra Marsh

From: Medway Maritime Hospital, United Kingdom
Visited: St James’s Hospital, Dublin, under the direction of Mr Brian Mehigan

The ESCP Pre-Congress placement gave me the unique opportunity to observe colorectal surgery at an Irish centre of excellence in Colorectal Surgery.

I was given a warm welcome at the colorectal unit at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, and spent an enjoyable couple of days with the team there. During this time I spent time in theatre observing laparoscopic resections for inflammatory bowel disease and malignancy, in endoscopy as part of the Irish national bowel cancer screening programme, and on consultant ward rounds.

This was a wonderful opportunity to spend time with a dedicated colorectal team and learn of differences between the Irish and UK healthcare systems such as the centralisation of rectal cancer services in Ireland. It was an excellent experience and an enjoyable prelude to the ESCP meeting.