Dear Members and Delegates

I would like to welcome you all to the Royal Armouries, Leeds, for the 2019 ALSGBI Silver Jubilee Annual Scientific Meeting. It will be extra special as this year the Association celebrates 25 years since it was formed. I am delighted that we will be back in Leeds for this special occasion and we have a programme designed to demonstrate and explore the full range of laparoscopic and robotic general surgery.

Leeds has a rich tradition of surgical innovation and laparoscopic surgery which was very much pioneered and entrenched into the fabric of Leeds by Professor Michael McMahon, former ALSGBI President. It is fitting that we can celebrate our Silver Jubilee in a city of such enthusiasm for minimally invasive surgery.

In keeping with the Yorkshire venue, the meeting this year is entitled ‘The Full Monty’. Interpret it as you will but we hope that everything you would wish to see will be demonstrated or on show at the meeting !

As usual the meeting will be preceded by the training day, organised expertly as ever by Mr Paul Leeder. This year the training day is being sponsored by Johnson & Johnson and held in the Leeds Institute for Minimally Invasive Therapy (LIMIT), supported by B.Braun Medical Ltd, Cook Medical, Inovus Medical and Karl Storz Endoscopy (UK) Ltd.

This provides opportunities for a large number of trainees at different stages to receive a day of focused hands-on training with a high ratio of very experienced trainers to trainees. LapPass is again being represented both on the training day and throughout the meeting, with plenty of opportunities for certification.

The live and ‘as live’ operating brings a wealth of extremely talented surgeons to the table. Cases will be transmitted from operating theatres in Leeds and Sheffield, with additional ‘as live’ cases presented within the auditorium. As a result we are planning on showcasing procedures on all the general surgical solid organs (liver, spleen, adrenal and pancreas) as well as some intra-luminal gastric surgery. The latest in robotic technology will be on show from Sheffield using Firefly fluorescence and demonstrating a complete mesocolic excision.

I would particularly like to thank Intuitive Surgical Ltd and Mölnlycke Health Care Ltd for their outstanding contribution to the live surgery this year and ConMed UK Ltd and Cook Medical for stepping in with their additional support for the live and “as live” surgery.

The day will be rounded off with a short practical symposium on how to bring innovations and technology into our cash-strapped services. If you want to bring about changes this should give you some solid ideas and solutions !

On the second day we are delighted to have some world-class speakers from Europe in keeping with our strong links to the EAES. Dr Filip Muysoms, from Belgium, is a leader in the field of abdominal wall surgery and will share his wisdom on the latest trends, and the role of robotics in minimally invasive abdominal wall surgery. Professor Richard van Hillegersberg from the Netherlands, one of Europe’s foremost robotic experts, will be sharing his expertise on oesophagogastric surgery. As well as discussing his mastery of techniques, he will be sharing the floor with Professor David Jayne for a symposium looking at the evidence for MIS and robotics in upper and lower GI surgery. This information is especially relevant now as cost containment is pitched against innovative techniques, and both speakers are recognized for their contributions to gathering such evidence in their respective specialties.

Other highlights include an update on advances in therapeutic flexible endoscopy crossing traditional surgical boundaries and the academic video and oral presentations. The prizes for the best talks, videos and posters are generous and I look forward to another round of high quality research presentations, from trainees, ALTS members and ALSGBI members.

The ALTS programme is equally stimulating and Mrs Debbie Gooch has brought together a great programme with team-working as a major theme.

As we are in our Silver Jubilee year, we can look forward to celebrating in style at the dinner.  The President’s Drinks Reception will be in the prestigious Victoria Quarter, followed by Dinner at Harvey Nichols Restaurant.  Since writing my initial introduction, the Rugby World Cup has finished in Japan with disappointment for the home nations, particularly England, who reached the final but were beaten by an inspired South Africa performance.  Our speaker at the dinner, former British and Irish Lion, John Bentley, has had the satisfaction of experiencing the right side of victory against South Africa, and will no doubt entertain us with his thoughts and anecdotes.

I have enjoyed unlimited support in the organisation of this year’s meeting and have many individuals to thank across the Trust for their enthusiasm and can-do approach. Specifically I am grateful to Mr Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals and Mr David Berridge, Deputy Medical Director, for their support in facilitating the live operating. The ALSGBI committee have been generous in their guidance, and as ever the meeting would have no chance of taking place without the incredibly hard work put in by Jenny and Sarah. Finally I would like to pass on our immense thanks to our Industry Partners whom we rely on to support and promote the Association and without whose help, our vision and ambitions could not be realised.

I am very much looking forward to welcoming you to Leeds. Explore and enjoy this wonderful city, enjoy the meeting, and return home enthused and envigorated.

With best wishes

Mr Simon P L Dexter DM FRCS(Gen) FCSHK
Consultant Surgeon, Upper Gastrointestinal and Minimally Invasive Surgery
President, ALSGBI & Local Organiser


Dear ALTS Members & Delegates

Another very successful conference last year in Manchester has fired me with even more enthusiasm for this year’s conference. We will be in Leeds and I am very pleased with how the programme is shaping up. The conference is in November again this year, Thursday 14th to Friday 15th, and the programme is looking very good. Our ALTS session is on the first morning. Hopefully, this will enable you to all meet up early in the proceedings and have a chance to share your knowledge and experiences. The conference title this year is The Full Monty; I have interpreted this as the whole team and as such, the talks will be around what makes a good team and how high-performing teams differ in healthcare from the army and sports teams. What can we learn from them?

We have some great speakers again this year, Major Bacon will give the Elemental Healthcare lecture and Mr Ben Tipney from MedLed will speak about his experience in high-performing teams. We will look at the role of the laparoscopic practitioner and discuss how we can help or hinder surgery, we will also look at maintaining our laparoscopic instruments and also learn about the robot, how to look after it, how it works and we will have a chance to ‘have a go’ (away from the public eye).

I believe that this all adds up to a very interesting session and I hope that you will agree and join us in the Royal Armouries Hall, Leeds. Live operating will be on day one of the conference and the second day is packed full of DVD presentations, with lectures surrounding the use of flexible endoscopes for surgical procedures and a presentation of data supporting MIS/robotic surgery.

All ALTS members who register for the conference will qualify for free entry as a benefit of membership, in addition the first 22 who register will qualify for a free place at the conference dinner which has kindly been sponsored by Elemental Healthcare, these places are offered on a first come first served basis so it’s a good idea to get in there quickly! Your free conference place for 2 days is worth £100 each, there are also 16 CPD points for all ALTS members, so please encourage your staff to join ALTS today by visiting

It would be great to see lots of you again, we had excellent feedback from all those who attended last year. If you want any further information from me or would like a chat, I can be contacted at

With best wishes

Mrs Debbie Gooch
ALTS Chairperson