The Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland

The Autumn meeting of the TSS, hosted by David and Vicky Macafee, took place on 17th-19th September.  We started at Durham Cathedral, where we had a guided tour and a visit to the Cathedral Library that contained a fascinating collection of old Medical books.  Our base was at Crathorne Hall, from where members went to South Tees Hospital for the Academic meeting and the partners visited Helmsley.  The final day included a visit to Mount Grace Priory, a Carthusian Monastery.  We had had a fascinating talk on the Carthusian Order on the Thursday evening by our colleague James Thomson, who had been Master of Charterhouse in London.  A brief account of the meeting can be found under Past Visits.  Full details can be seen at Middlesbrough Report


TSS Members and their partners. Crathorne Hall Sept 2015

Members and guests of the TSS at Crathorne Hall Sept 2015
Click image to enlarge     


In April 2016 we learnt of the death of Adrian Marston, former Vascular Surgeon at The Middlesex Hospital, London. Jeffrey Adrian Preistley Marston was a true polymath and a great linguist.  He served as Honorary Secretary to the Society from 1971-1975.  A full obituary can be found here.  Further details of a celebration of his life will be posted in due course.

In May 2015 we recorded the death at the age of 87 of Alan Green, our Archivist and committed chronicler of the history of the TSS which he supported enthusiastically since he and Doreen joined what was then the Travelling Surgical Club in 1970.  He was President from 1988-1991 and was renowned for giving his speeches in the language of the host country. His knowledge of our Society’s history and activities was legendary.  He died in Norfolk on 4th May 2015 whilst the TSS was on one of its annual foreign visits, this time to Madrid.  For a full obituary click here.  His wife Doreen died in March 2016.  A service of celebration of her life was held in Norwich Cathedral on Tuesday 19th April.

During 2015 we also heard of the death of another senior TSS member Randolph Beard; his obituary can be seen here.

The Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a group of surgeons from around the United Kingdom which travels to various hospitals and surgical departments around the world and in the UK. These are academic and clinical meetings and the purpose is to encourage educational and surgical exchanges.

In 1924 Sir Berkeley (later Lord) Moynihan held a clinical meeting in Leeds for twelve British surgeons whom he then entertained to dinner. From these roots evolved the present-day Travelling Surgical Society (TSS).

The current membership consists of about fifty surgeons of whom thirty are in active practice. The society has always maintained strong links to military surgery.

Seven of the active members are Professors of Surgery, demonstrating that we place great emphasis on academic content in our meetings. We offer two travelling fellowships each year.

In recent years members have held distinguished honours (two knights and a baron) as well as Presidencies and other leading roles with surgical Royal Colleges.

Recent membership has also boasted some unusual accolades, including an Honored Member of the American Association of Clinical Anatomists, a Lambeth Doctorate of Medicine (awarded by the Archbishop of Canterbury), a Kentucky Colonel, and a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite. Our current membership even includes a Minister of Health to the last UK government.

Price Thomas Travelling Fellowship 2015

The 2015 Fellowship was awarded to Professor Nawwar Al-Attar from the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Clydebank, Glasgow.  He travelled with us to Madrid in May and gave two excellent academic papers.

Price Thomas Travelling Fellowship 2016

The number and quality of applications for the bursary this year has been outstanding.  The judging panel, chaired by the President, deliberated hard and concluded that we should appoint two travelling fellows this year.  They will travel with us to Canada and will present two papers each at our academic session in Toronto.  They are:

Mr Joseph Hardwicke.  Lecturer in Burns and Plastic Surgery at University Hopsitals Birmingham and

Mr Prasanna Sooriakumaran. Senior Research Fellow in Robotics & Urology and Consultant Urological Surgeon at the University of Oxford

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth"

Mark Twain

"When men of sober age travel, they gather knowledge which they may apply usefully in their country" 

Thomas Jefferson

"In our age such great usefulness redounds to the physician from his travels that none puts much faith in the authority of the physician who has not set foot outside his native land, and, although each may have at home in abundance those things which are necessary for medical instruction, nevertheless they ought to be strengthened or increased by a comparison with things abroad.

There is a vast delight and pleasure in gazing upon foreign lands and fields, mountains and rivers, observing the benignity of Nature's variety everywhere, the different conditions of the sick in homes and in hospitals with their great number of beds, which can readily be seen here and there, examining the methods for treating the patients, enjoying the conversation of the learned men, and calling forth their experiences, and visiting the laboratories, the furnaces of the chemists, the pharmacies and the unguent shops."

Thomas Bartholin, Danish anatomist (1616 -1680) on medical travel