Leicester lies on the River Soar and close to the eastern end of the National Forest. It is at the intersection of two major railway lines—the north/south Midland Main Line and the east/west Birmingham to London Stansted CrossCountry line; as well as the confluence of the M1/M69 motorways. Following the Norman conquest, Leicester was recorded by William’s Domesday Book as Ledecestre. It was noted as a city (civitas) but lost this status in the 11th century owing to power struggles between the Church and the aristocracy and did not become a legal city again until 1919.
In September 2012 the TSS had its first ever visit to Leicester where the Trust currently includes Groby Road Hospital, the General Hospital, Glenfield and Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI). The meeting was hosted by plastic surgeon Dr David Ward with his wife Louise. He chaired the academic meeting, held in the Education Centre of the LRI, where the presentations were most original: the excellent results from extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in the management of neonatal respiratory problems, and of adult swine flu especially, a ‘third’ inguinal hernia recognised at laparoscopy by hepato-biliary surgeon David Lloyd who also promoted his Lloyd Release of the medial end of the inguinal ligament for sportsman’s groin, caval involvement by renal carcinoma (avoiding bypass if possible), and the genetic background (slender but identifiable) to abdominal aortic aneurysms. Sacral neuromodulation for faecal incontinence complemented previous similar presentations (in Salisbury and Geneva) and we were exhorted not to resect possible sarcomas but to suspect the diagnosis, resist resection, biopsy and refer to a specialist unit. The metabolic effects of obesity surgery were discussed as were the plans to reconfigure (i.e. reduce the number of) vascular units and to implement Local Education Training Boards. Of six contenders, James Hunter won the Trainees’ Prize for his presentation on the benefit of hydrogen sulphide in renal ischaemia reperfusion injury. Two excellent presentations on reconstructive plastic surgery, in peace and war, reflected our host’s own surgical specialty.
Of the two guest lectures, Dr Sam Alberti (Director of Museums and Archives at the RCS England) gave an overview of museums and morbid curiosities, starting with John Hunter’s house and collection in London, and veterinary surgeon Paul Watkins comprehensively covered ‘the Veterinary Surgeon at War’ who often had to act as medical officer. For our two-day visit we stayed in central Leicester at the Belmont Hotel on New Walk, toured the New Walk Museum (dating back to 1849) and enjoyed an evening at the Space Centre (reaching the limits of the Universe). The formal dinner was at Oakham House with guest speaker Stephen Dorrell, MP. Saturday morning was spent on the Grand Union Canal at Foxton Locks and its Inclined Lift, where we had lunch at The Boathouse.
Images above show the Cathedral (Left) and one of the city’s modern buildings, the ‘Curve’ (right)