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Chair Report 2020 - message from Alison Cropper

BAC membership renewals will be sent late September & Alison reflects on the past year



Alison Cropper CSci FIBMS - Chair of the BAC

Ten years of the BAC

My 3 year term as Chairman of the BAC comes to an end soon and I will be taking on the role of President, as the BAC enters its 10th year of existence.

It really does not seem like nearly 10 years since the BAC was formed from the merger of the two former cytology professional bodies, the BSCC and the NAC. But what will we have achieved in 10 years and was it the right decision to merge?

To answer the second question first – yes. Without doubt, and there were some doubters at the time, both previous organisations had much common ground and yet falling memberships, so there would have come a point where two bodies were no longer viable, so the BAC was formed to take on the best bits of both!

Members of the BAC executive over the ten years have worked tirelessly to achieve our aims and objectives, which have not changed in that time, as stated in our constitution:

1. Aims and Objectives

1.1.1 To advance the science and art of Cytopathology by encouraging high standards in Cytopathology for the benefit of the public

1.1.2 To encourage research in Cytopathology and related fields and the publication of useful results

1.2 In pursuit of the above aims and objectives the Association shall have the power to receive contributions via a membership fee and raise funds where appropriate, to finance the work of the Association, and to organise banking facilities to manage such funds.

1.3 To achieve these aims and objectives:

  • The Association will hold regular Scientific Meetings.
  • The Association will hold educational study days, training courses and workshops.
  • The Association will facilitate a Continuous Education Certificate scheme open to all members.

1.4 The Association will work with groups of a similar nature and exchange information, advice and knowledge with them, including cooperation with other professional bodies, charities, statutory and non-statutory organisations

I think we have succeeded and proved those doubters wrong, and would like to thank all executive members, previous and current, for their personal contributions, too many to mention individually but they know who they are, but I must give a special thank you to Kay Ellis who has been Treasurer for all 10 years – I don’t know what BAC would do without her!

Similarly, our back office administration support has been provided for the last 10 years via our contract with the IBMS, namely Christian Burt, who looks after our day to day business and keeps the wheels in motion.

Achievements

BAC have worked hard to establish ourselves as the professional body for cytopathology in the UK, and it has taken some time, but through working closely with other relevant organizations, national bodies and government departments we are now the ‘go-to’ body which represents cytology in all its forms within the UK, recognized and respected across the world.

Challenges

This last year has been unprecedented, not just for the BAC, but the Covid-19 global pandemic cannot be ignored, and the impact it has had on everyone and the challenges it brought – the way we work and live our lives has changed, some say forever.

Just when we thought the cytology profession was settling down after HPV primary screening implementation, along came the Corona virus, which no-one could have predicted. But the BAC, like all our members, have responded to the changes imposed and have adapted the way we work to enable us to carry on business as (un)usual by  holding executive meetings via video conferencing platforms, providing live educational webinars (free of charge) and are even planning our AGM as a virtual meeting this year on 2nd October. Let’s hope it is not too long though before we can meet again in person.

Cytology Education

We have commenced a schedule of live webinars and so far held 4 with more planned for the coming year, covering a wide range of topics and areas of expertise. BAC has invested in the Zoom platform to host these sessions, and Dr Ash Chandra has provided his invaluable experience to enable us to do so. Feedback so far has been amazing.

Some major cytology events in 2020 that BAC were to be involved with have been cancelled or postponed but will hopefully go ahead next year, including the ECC in Poland (October 2021). The IAC have asked the BAC to host another of their tutorials in London in December 2021 as the last one in 2018 was so successful and well attended.

The BAC spring tutorial had to be cancelled this year but it is hoped will be able to go ahead in spring 2021, along with a one day meeting we are arranging to mark the 10th anniversary of the BAC, this will be in Nottingham on 23rd April 2021 and the preliminary programme promises an exciting mix of speakers and presentations covering a range of cytological topics.

Remember that bursaries are available from the BAC to all members and are a much under-utilized resource – please consider applying for one should you wish to attend any cytology event, and all we ask in return is a written report for Scan, the BAC’s magazine journal.

The next 10 years

The BAC will only continue to exist as long as it provides what the members want, and the executive will strive to provide this for as long as we can, but the future is ultimately in the hands of the membership.

We will continue to develop the partnerships we have developed with other professional bodies such as the RCPath and IBMS, so that the voice of the BAC is heard far and wide, but we do need new people on the executive to carry this work on, for the benefit of all members. Being an executive member is not a paid job, and on occasions requires some input from your own time, but is so interesting and rewarding that you will not mind. There are a lot of highly skilled, motivated and enthusiastic cytologists out there please consider bringing this to the BAC!

Finally, I would like to thank Dr Paul Cross, out-going President, for his tremendous contribution to cytology and the BAC, and wish him well in his (semi) retirement. Thanks for everything you have done for the BAC Paul.

Mrs Alison Cropper, Chairman BAC

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