ALTS (Association of Laparoscopic Theatre Staff)

Welcome from the ALTS Chair

Dear ALTS Members & Potential Delegates

This year presents you with a new Chairperson. Firstly, I would like to thank Jane Hendricks for the fantastic amount of work and enthusiasm she has put into being your Chairperson for the last umpteen years. She is a very difficult act to follow!

I have worked with Jane at Colchester Hospital since 1989 and was actually quite happy with being a theatre sister and then head of the theatres in our Day Unit for a number of years. However, Jane persuaded me that an MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice would be a fun thing to do and before I knew it I was working back in main theatres and the in-patient department working as a Laparoscopic Nurse Practitioner in Upper GI/General Surgery. I have never let on to her that she was right but I have thoroughly enjoyed my last eleven years and learnt so much working with great surgeons in a fabulous department.

So when Jane told me it would be a fun thing to do to be the new Chairperson for ALTS I could hardly say no!

This year’s meeting is being held in beautiful Wales, at the City Hall in Cardiff. Wales of the Unexpected is exploring innovation, adaptation and the use of robotics in Laparoscopic Surgery. There will be live operating as usual on the Thursday with a chance to view robotic prostate and colorectal surgery, an adrenalectomy and also a TEP hernia repair so there will be some very interesting viewing on offer.

The afternoon will look into the difficulties encountered when we, or our surgeons, find new ways of working or would like to bring instrumentation into the department. We will also explore the ups and downs of procurement, how to write a good business case and how to sell the idea to management.

On Friday morning the ALTS will have a splinter group where we plan to discuss the non-technical skills required in providing a safe environment for our patients. We hope to have a short session on Human Factors, followed by discussion about Schwartz rounds and their contribution to providing an insight into how our different colleagues feel about the same situation. Both Schwartz rounds and Human Factors training are quite high on current management agendas and good practice for you to take back to your place of work. If you already have Human Factors training and regular Schwartz rounds, it would be good to hear about your experiences too.

The usual fantastic social programme will be on offer, so please book early for the conference dinner. The cost of the dinner is £70 and it promises to be a good night at Cardiff Castle.

We would like to thank Industry Partners for once again providing some sponsored places. The Industry Partners always provide us with an excellent exhibition and a chance to keep up to date with new technology and meet old friends. The sponsored places cover the conference fee and one night’s accommodation so please put in your applications as soon as possible. For more information, contact It would be lovely to see as many of you there as possible. The meeting is really a very interesting, thought-provoking event and also allows you to meet up with others and discuss your successes and difficulties.

It would be really lovely to see as many of you in Wales as possible and get to know you. If you want any further information from me or would like a chat, I can be contacted at

Mrs Debbie Gooch
ALTS Chairperson

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For information about bursaries available to ALTS members, please contact Jenny Treglohan

Contact us via

Tel: (0)20 7869 6941
Tel: (0)20 7869 6940

at The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields,
London WC2A 3PE

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