Price Thomas Travel Bursaries
The group of Travelling Surgical Club (as it was then) members photographed above in Madrid in 1953 includes Clement Price Thomas, seated centrally, beside Bob Nevin (Secretary of the TSC).
The Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland
Price Thomas Travelling Fellowship
The Price Thomas Fellows waited patiently for two years and were finally able to travel with us to Milan in May.
Meara Dean and Daniel Leff both submitted reports on their experience which are listed here.
Meara Dean, Colorectal Fellow at Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Trust
In May 2022 I travelled to Milan with the Traveling Surgeons Society of Great Britain and Ireland (TSS) as one of the Thomas Price Fellows. This fellowship sponsors a young surgeon to travel with TSS members and contribute to the academic program by presenting research at the host centres. The attendees have the opportunity to hear talks about the host institute’s history and practices and also learn about the country’s healthcare system. The program also includes time to absorb and enjoy the local history together with the culture of the region.
Our first visit was to the Policlinico Ospedale, hosted by Dr Luigi Boni and his team. The hospital was founded in 1456 and has an impressive medical museum and archive. We were shown many interesting objects, including medical record manuscripts written on sheepskin from 1457. Trainee, Dr Ludovica Baldari described how the unit has incorporated ICG into their clinical practice. Dr Boni described some of the challenges facing surgery in Italy, including attracting junior doctors to surgical training. He also shared with us the plans for a new hospital building.
The next day we visited San Raffelle Ospedale, hosted by Professor Riccardo Rosati and members of his department. Dr Lavinia Barbieri presented an interesting talk about the history of the hospital and how the Upper GI department has incorporated an enhanced recovery program. Trainee, Dr Davide Socci then presented their experience with minimally invasive Ivor Lewis Oesophagectomy.
These clinical experiences were complemented by a lively social program. I will warmly remember entertaining conversations in some spectacular settings, from al fresco lunches overlooking Lake Como, to courtyard dining in Milan, to our final rooftop dinner with views over the Duomo. I especially enjoyed hearing about the experiences of senior surgeons who had enjoyed rich and varied careers.
Travelling to discover different ways of living and new perspective has long been an important part of my life. I have been fortunate to have travelled to many countries, and worked as a doctor in various settings, from cloud forests in Honduras to dusty mines in rural Australia, to leading clinics in the USA. I would sincerely encourage other young surgeons to apply for this fellowship and to take every opportunity to travel abroad to explore the international world of surgery. There is much to be gained from this type of exchange, which remains as relevant as it did nearly one hundred years ago when the TSS was formed after the Great War.
Daniel Leff, Reader at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
I was extremely fortunate to have been awarded a Price Thomas Fellowship and travelled with the TSS to Milan, Italy in May 2022. The TSS had organised a wealth of clinical, academic, and cultural activities as well as visits to key institutions in Milan.
We visited Prof Luigi Boni and his team at the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Hospital in Milan. Founded in 1456 by Duke Francesco Sforza, the Policlinico is one of the oldest Hospitals in Italy. Despite being a modern Hospital, the Policlinico has not forgotten its immense heritage and we were treated to a visit to the ‘magnificent room’ (and indeed it was) created in the 1700s to accommodate meetings of the management board and which still houses archived clinical notes going back to 1500! These records were located by our host in minutes. I couldn’t help but wonder how long such a request would take in the current NHS with the EPR. The academic visit with Prof Boni was excellent and covered their work using fluorescence-guided surgery for bowel integrity and bile duct identification which parallels my own research into near-infrared fluorescence “GLOW” technology for margin evaluation in breast surgery. There was a lot of discussion regarding COVID-19 [after all this visit was supposed to be in May 2020 when Milan was an epicentre of COVID-19!], and its impact on training. In this regard, I was able to present my work on simulation training in breast cancer surgery as a potential method to plug gaps in the loss of real-world experience. We also learned of experimental evidence from Professor Stephen Chadwick that it’s not possible for surgeons to discern single malt whisky from a blended product, and I managed to resist the temptation to repeat a single-blind experiment on myself.
We then visited Prof Rosati Riccardo and his team at San Raffaele Hospital, which is a sprawling metropolis of a Hospital (it took us 20 mins to find the right building), which houses Mario Cucinella’s visually stunning “Iceberg Building”. The auditorium was huge, and we sat on the most comfortable conference suite chairs I can recall (in Ferrari red of course). There was a truly fabulous set of talks from the staff at San Raffaele regarding the way in which oesophageal cancer surgery had evolved and the steps the team had taken to streamline each step of the service. There were excellent discussions regarding the need for yet further improvements in surgical precision and the multidisciplinary nature of surgical oncology. I had an opportunity to present my inter-disciplinary work on the “intelligent knife” which analyses the chemical composition of surgical vapour to determine disease status in near realtime and is a novel tool for precision and resection margin control in surgical oncology.
As well as these clinical-academic visits, we were treated to a feast of culture including visits to the beautiful Duomo which only has 135 spires!, the Leonardo da Vinci Museum to see his first flying machines, and the artworks at the Sforzesco Castle. A trip to lake Como and the magical Villa Carlotta was a highlight with Canova’s “Cupid & Psyche” and its 20 acre gardens. The shopping was of course marvellous and was I thrilled to finally get an Inter Milan football top for my son (I have supported them since my secondary school days). We experienced fabulous culinary delights and the last supper overlooking the Duomo will live long in the memory.
Most importantly, it was a fabulous opportunity to interact and learn from senior UK surgeons who have an unparalleled wealth of experience and advice about surgery, training, and leadership. More than this was hearing their stories about life outside the operating room. It was wonderful to meet the President, Linda De Cossart, by video-link and debate what can be done to ensure surgery and the TSS thrive in future. I hope it goes from strength to strength and wish them well as they approach the big 100 (not out!).
I am truly very grateful for the honour of the fellowship, for the great generosity of the TSS and its members on the trip and the unique opportunity to share my research with international colleagues.
Former Price Thomas Travelling Fellows
2019 Major Michael Hughes travelled to Malta and presented to the University of Malta and the Mater Dei Hospital.
2018 Mr Alastair Simpson and Mr Mohan Singh travelled to Budapest, Hungary. They presented at the GI and Vascular Institutes of the Semmelweiss University.
In an era where antibiotic resistance is a very real threat, Ernest Azzopardi gave us some insight into cutting edge research which will differentiate infection (which needs treatment with antibiotics) from inflammation (which does not).
The number and quality of applications for the bursary this year was outstanding. The judging panel, chaired by the President, deliberated hard and concluded that we should appoint two travelling fellows this year. They travelled with us to Canada and presented two papers each at our academic sessions in Toronto. They were: Mr Joseph Hardwicke. Lecturer in Plastic Surgery at the University of Birmingham, and Specialty Registrar ST8 in Burns and Plastic Surgery travelled to Toronto, Canada. He Presented papers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (University Health Network) and St Michael’s Hospital. His report can be seen here and Mr Prasanna Sooriakumaran. Senior Research Fellow in Robotics & Urology and Consultant Urological Surgeon at the University of Oxford
The 2015 Fellowship was awarded to Professor Nawwar Al-Attar, Consultant Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon from the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow travelled with us to Madrid. He presented a paper ‘Managing the cardiac crisis: from mechanical circulatory support to transplantation’ at the Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre and “Pure internal thoracic artery CABG:the ‘nec plus ultra’ in myocardial revascularisation” at the Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro. His report is here
Mr Fung J Foo travelled with the society to Rennes, France and to Jersey. He presented papers at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Rennes and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, France.
Mr Jawad Ahmad an SpR from Belfast, was the 2013 Price Thomas Fellow and travelled with the society to Charlottesville and Richmond Virginia, presenting two papers during the meeting. His report is here.
Mr Justin Davies travelled to Dublin with the society where he presented papers at St Vincent’s University Hospital and at the Mater Misericordiae Hospital.
The holders of the 2011 awards, Mr John Simpson (Nottingham) and Mr James Clover (Cork), travelled to Switzerland with the Travelling Surgical Society from 4th to 11th June 2011. During this time they delivered two papers at scientific meetings at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève and attended a meeting at The International Committee for the Red Cross, Geneva. You will find John Simpson’s report here
The winners of the 2010 Price Thomas Travelling Fellowships were Prof Ian Chetter, Senior Lecturer/Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Hull and Mr David Macafee, Trainee, Northern Deanery. They travelled with the society to Cuba and Barbados. You will find David Macafee’s report on his trip in 2010 here .
The winners of the 2009 Price Thomas Travelling Fellowships were Prof David Jayne, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Senior Lecturer, Leeds and Prof Tim Lane, Consultant Urologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary Medical School, London. They travelled with the society to Iceland.