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At the recent Irish Cardiac Society (ICS) 70th Annual Scientific Meeting and AGM, President of the Society Prof Jim Crowley spoke to the Medical Independent (MI) about the significance of the landmark 70th anniversary and how the Society has evolved during those decades.
Prof Crowley pointed out that this year’s meeting is by far the biggest the Society has ever hosted. “The attendance is up by approximately 30 per cent on previous years,” he said. “We also have a meeting of our SpR trainees at the conference, the Cardiologists of Tomorrow group, and they have fellows in training coming to attend this meeting, so there really is a great mix of all levels in Ireland and abroad – you could say it’s a fantastic meeting of the diaspora.”
On the overall content and attendance at the conference, he commented: “It’s very satisfying to see the number of international representatives who have come here – from the American College of Cardiology, the President Elect of the European Society of Cardiology, the President of the British Cardiac Society, and former President of international cardiac meetings, for example,” he said. “I think that’s an indication of our presence and their awareness of us as a Society. It’s also a sign of the networking opportunities we have created over the years and it’s great to see so many trainees who have come from abroad to present their latest research and it is very reassuring to see the places that these trainees have gone to.
“These people are working in world-class centres and doing world-class research and getting fantastic experience abroad, so hopefully we will see these people return to us as consultant cardiologists and bring all their experience, knowledge, expertise and contacts back to the Irish community,” he told MI. “At the end of the day, we would hope that will have a trickle-down effect on patient care and hopefully we get people who are trained in the best centres coming back to provide the best possible care for patients.”
This type of experience also hugely benefits trainees abroad, added Prof Crowley. “This gives the trainees a vision of what can be done when working with the best facilities in very large centres and it gives them a goal when they do come back – to bring those standards back to Ireland.”
These trainees typically work in the top-five centres of cardiology worldwide and benefit from working in centres that may have 50 or more cardiologists. They also work with cutting-edge technologies and participate in large, multi-centre trials, said Prof Crowley, and benefit from the networking opportunities they have fostered abroad.
“With the programme we set up in 1998, there are approximately 100 trainees who have gone through this programme up to 2016,” Prof Crowley explained. “Seventy per cent of them have returned to Ireland and it’s very important to be aware that not all of these trainees decide to stay away; the majority of them do return home. When they come back, they have outstanding CVs and can compete with anyone in the world and are the cream of the crop internationally. Almost all of them have already achieved consultant positions abroad before they return home, so they have already been recognised in those world-class centres as being of a calibre sufficient to be in those centres.” Prof Crowley explained that seeing these trainees at the ICS annual meetings is one of the highlights of the event.
This year’s conference also hosted sessions with the Irish Nurses Cardiovascular Association, Cardiac Clinical Physiologists, the Irish Atherosclerosis Society, and the Irish Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prof Crowley highlighted these collaborations as significant. “It’s a very important meeting, not just for cardiologists and consultants and trainees, but also for these organisations.
“This is a meeting that brings together all of the professionals associated with cardiology services and there is fantastic cross-pollination between the different groups. These people often work with each other day-to-day and it’s a great for them to get to know each other in a less formal setting.”