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Chairman’s report for BAC membership renewal 2018/19

With the call for membership renewals in the post, BAC Chair Alison Cropper reflects on a momentous year of change in cytology

My first year and Executive roles

It was an honour to be nominated for the role of Chairman by my fellow executive members last year, and I have received nothing but support from them all since which has made my job so much less arduous than I thought it was going to be and the first year has flown by!

We welcomed 2 new members onto the executive at the AGM last year and both Dr Miguel Perez-Machado and Dr Yurina Miki have soon become much valued members of the team, taking on a variety of roles between them.

We have had a re-shuffle of the sub-committees and every member of the executive is now involved in at least one of these.  I thank them all for their continued hard work and dedication to their BAC roles, all of which are undertaken in their own time and for no remuneration.

Alison Malkin has taken over from me as Meetings Secretary and has been thrown right in at the deep end with a number of events to organise in a short space of time but, with the help of Dr Ash Chandra,  has risen admirably to the challenge and successfully delivered.

Continued learning through symposium and events

BAC educational symposia have been held in London and Madrid during 2018, and further events are planned in 2019 for Sydney, Malmo and Birmingham, all of which help to showcase and promote Cytopathology in the UK across the globe.

Dr Paul Cross and Allan Wilson, our previous Chairman and President, have continued to organise the European QUATE exam and held examinations in Denmark, Madrid, Slovenia and Austria and this is very much appreciated by the European Cytology community.

The BAC and the RCPath will be co-hosting the IAC tutorial 3-5th December 2018 in London at the new premises of the RCPath. The tutorial covers a wide range of topics, providing up to date information by international experts in the field.

HPV Primary Screening – BAC voice at all levels

Closer to home however, BAC have continued to represent our members in the tortuous meetings and negotiations regarding implementation of primary HPV screening in England during 2019. It has been a long hard slog but we have certainly ensured our voice has been heard at every possible opportunity. We are still not quite there, but the Preparing for the Future event in Nottingham, to be held jointly with the IBMS on Saturday 13th October 2018, should shed light on some of the as yet unknown details.

Because of the importance and significance of the impending changes in cervical cytology, the BAC have offered this meeting free of charge to our members, as have the IBMS to theirs. We are fortunate that we have sufficient funds to be able to do this and also to subsidise other educational events – education is after all one of the main purposes of the BAC.

We have a bursary specifically for this purpose, which is little used, but available to all members. Please bear this in mind when considering your own professional development in the coming year and further information is available on the BAC website.

Media and Publications

Other benefits for members include receiving the scientific Cytopathology journal and the SCAN magazine, a publication which continues to be well received, but we do need more contributions from members so please send to our Editor, Sharon Roberts-Gant, who works tirelessly to put together Scan for us, again all in her own time and with no remuneration – thanks Sharon!

As well as our journals, the BAC has now come into the 21st century and we have a Twitter account. Please be sure to follow the BAC @britishcytology and interact with the team.

We would very much welcome News Items for both the BAC website and for the Twitter account. This might be interesting case or a focus on your own laboratory and changing roles. All contributions are very much welcome.

No increase in membership fees

It is tremendous that we have not increased our membership fees in the whole 8 years that BAC has been in existence and I am pleased to say this year will be no different. Our Treasurer Kay Ellis manages our funds with extreme care and diligence and this has enabled BAC to be able to keep membership rates as low as they are for so long, and I do not envisage this changing in the near future, so they remain extremely good value for money.

Membership numbers are steady, with slight fluctuations between professional groups, but this is simply reflective of the changing world of cytology in the UK today.

Working with our partners

Aside from cervical cytology, the BAC have continued to input into many areas of diagnostic cytology, such as new cytology tissue pathways, reporting systems and diagnostic EQA schemes.

One of the things that we have been consciously doing over the last year is looking to work more in close partnerships with other professional bodies, of which many of our members are also members, namely the IBMS and RCPath.

Certainly with regards to HPV implementation our combined voice has had a more positive impact than as single organisations, and I think all three have seen the benefits of working together for our common aims and to serve our members as best we can. We have representation on both the RCPath and IBMS cytology groups, and this closer collaborative working produces a far stronger professional voice.

The uncertainty around HPV implementation has dominated cytology recently, and I am sure will continue to do so for many months to come; the BAC will continue to bring our members all the news as it happens wherever we possibly can, whilst maintaining a high profile for diagnostic cytology which we must not forget is just as important.

I look forward to another successful year for BAC and hope as many of you as possible will be able to benefit from attending BAC organised meetings and events and will join the executive in continuing to raise the profile of cytology within the UK and beyond.

With kindest regards,

Mrs Alison Cropper

Chairman BAC