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The World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA) Europe conference was held in the beautiful city of Prague this year and attended by several thousand family doctors from around the world.

Thanks to Dr Clare J Taylor, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, for writing this piece.

"On behalf of the European Primary Care Cardiovascular Society (, Professor Arno Hoes from Urecht, Netherlands and Professor Richard Hobbs and I from Oxford, UK presented a workshop on the burden of heart failure. We explored the challenges of early diagnosis and effective management for the 15 million people living with heart failure across Europe and included an update on the European Society of Cardiology 2016 guideline which offers some solutions.

woncaThe conference programme offered great diversity with everything from fourth generation technology to boredom. The plenary on ‘Embracing diversity in the digital transformation of primary healthcare’ by Dr Harris Lygidakis was a phenomenal exploration of the potential of technologies to transform the way we deliver care, but with a cautionary note that digital data by themselves are useless and need to be analysed, interpreted and acted upon in a meaningful way. The parallel session titled ‘A healthy dose of boredom’ was presented by a young GP who advocated that, in this fast paced world, being bored is something we should aspire to, at least for a time. She argued boredom urges us to ‘seek new goals, explore new territories and dream new ideas’. 

There were also sessions where I was genuinely moved. In the workshop on migrant health, case studies were used to highlight the horrific experiences of migrant patients prior to their arrival in the safety of a European healthcare system. Professor Amanda Howe, WONCA President and a British academic GP, also delivered a powerful plenary which started with a slide depicting the victims of recent terror attacks and international conflicts to place her talk in the current global context.

And the relevance of the dragon? He is the mascot for the WONCA Europe 2018 conference in Krakow, Poland and really stole the show in the conference exhibition area. I’ll certainly be thinking about going again next year."  

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