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9th May 2022
It was with great trepidation that I set off for London on Wednesday 20th April 2022. Maybe it was because of COVID, or being in a room with so many people for the first time since the pandemic, or maybe that I might end up wandering the venue alone listening to lectures that went over my head. And how would my presentation go? What had I let myself in for?
Well, I honestly didn’t need to worry.
The hotel was very easy to find and booking in took no time at all. I was quickly shown where to register my conference attendance, and I was in. The conference is very well laid out with a bag and coat store, a large well equipped main room with plenty of AV screens, a separate floor for the company exhibitions and a mezzanine area for a variety of breakout sessions.
The hotel has a great range of facilities, a restaurant, café lounge area, a bar and gym. I have to be honest, make sure you know where the mezzanine level is (above the café) ahead of time, as it is slightly remote from the main area. Again, there was plenty of kind staff to point you in the right direction. The breakfasts are great with plenty of options available. The restaurant was really nice but be prepared for London prices! There is an M&S just outside the hotel and some other take aways and shops if you fancy something different. The rooms were comfortable and well equipped.
There was a wide range of talks in the main auditorium with a broad field of scope. The areas that really stood out for me were the out of hospital arrest talks, well-being sessions looking at on call, rest periods and zero tolerance of discrimination. There was a great talk on human factors and how it affected practice. As I say, a wide scope. There were plenty of interesting cases and I do stress it’s worth the puzzle of finding the mezzanine level as up there were a range of breakout sessions on case complications and the AHP sessions.
How was it presenting? Always nerve wracking! But that said, I cannot fault the support of the AHP working group. They contacted me beforehand, met me on day one and included me in the welcome meeting so I could meet everybody. On the day of the presentation, we had a meeting where the speakers and chairs talked about the presentations, offering support and advice before going through the running order. It was great prep and really steadied the nerves, going in knowing there would be no surprises. The AHP working group are an incredibly inclusive team, and I would not think twice about speaking again knowing that level of support is provided. The venue has a great little area where you can tweak your talk and upload everything ready for your session. The AV setup and support from the technical team was great as well. They allowed me time to run through my talk and tweak the projector to display everything clearly. The audience was kind, no one setting you up to fail; they were really engaged with the session leading to some great discussions and conversations afterwards which ran for 45 minutes. I had several conversations outside of the lecture which was really nice.
The exhibition hall is a hive of companies and new technology; it’s easy to get lost in there for a long time seeing all that is new in the world of cardiology. It is a great place to interact with reps and people you may know and network with those you don’t.
There is a tasty buffet lunch served in the exhibition hall, which catered to a wide range of tastes. Don’t worry about missing the next talk as there are plenty of warnings to return to the main auditorium. There was a lovely conference meal served on the Thursday which included the prize giving, it was a very modern menu and the deconstructed apple crumble certainly led to a lot of discussion!
There was a handy app to download which had the schedule, a map of the exhibition hall and allowed you to ask questions remotely during sessions or take part in polls.
So, to sum up, the days are packed full of up-to-date information and discussion. The companies provide some great support. The evenings are more relaxed and social, with many attendees meeting up and continuing discussions from the day. It was an honour to be invited to talk, the AHP working group were incredibly supportive and I felt I was saying goodbye to friends not colleagues after three days. I can’t express how much I got out of the conference; I came away with lots of new ideas to implement and others to explore. I am already looking forward to next year; one word of warning you will probably be exhausted (in a good way) by the time you get home. Hope to see you there!
Bristol Heart Institute
Dates for your diary: BCIS ACI 2023 will be on the 18th-20th January 2023.
If that’s too long to wait, why not join us at the BCIS AHP conference on Monday 20th June, at The Mercure Grand Hotel, Leicester. Register here.
All sessions from BCIS ACI 2022, including Mike’s talk, are now available for streaming from the BCIS website here.