"As always the BSR conference in Liverpool was the highlight of the year for clinicians and allied health professionals associated with rheumatology and musculoskeletal conditions. With plenty of opportunities to learn about the latest developments in rheumatology and musculoskeletal medicine through lectures, interactive sessions and special interest groups, there was something for everyone. Expert led poster tours and exhibition provided another opportunity to discover current rheumatological ‘hot topics’ and share best practice. The much awaited Jewels in the crown session was given a flying start by Dame Carol Black who delivered this year’s keynote lecture, in keeping with the theme of the conference – ‘the global burden of musculoskeletal diseases’. I particularly enjoyed the epidemiological stance to this year’s Michael Mason talk by Dr E Dennison, titled “Serendipitous hoarding: the story of the Hertfordshire ledgers”. This was followed by an equally engaging Heberden round by Dr Richard Watts, who entertained us with his talk “From bark to B cells” presenting a mixed bag of interesting cases of vasculitis. Professor Deborah Symmons who seamlessly took us through observations from the time of William Heberden in the 18th century to the present day in the traditional Heberden oration (“The outcome of rheumatoid arthritis: learning from observation”). This year also saw some new topics on the horizon, such as sessions on tropical rheumatology.
As more and more clinicians are encouraged to take on a managerial and leadership role, the talks on the challenges around commissioning were an eye-opener. As a trainee registrar in rheumatology, I was most interested in the British Rheumatologists in Training (BRTIs) educational sessions which provided a slightly more informal platform to hear about and discuss challenging cases with experts. With so much to choose from, it is always inevitable to miss out on some interesting sessions. Networking was also high on the agenda, with delegates enjoying themselves well into the night at the 30th anniversary president’s reception and dinner. The after party (particularly for rheumatology trainees) continued at the bars dotted along the Albert docks. The conference venue (ACC) allowed easy access to the Liverpool docks for a breath of fresh air when the saturation threshold for soaking up knowledge was reached! Overall the conference was a thoroughly enjoyable event with opportunities to catch up with colleagues, learn about the latest in the world of rheumatology and form networking links. BSR 2015 in Manchester has a lot to live up to!"