Blog: The National Orthopaedic Alliance Annual Conference, a member’s perspective

By: Irrum Afzal, South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre

Having just attended the 2022 British Orthopaedic Association Annual Congress, it is now time for my colleagues and I to look forward to the National Orthopaedic Alliance (NOA) Annual Members’ Conference in October. The meeting will be talking place in the same stunning venue as last year, The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham.

Having attended the first conference last year and several other NOA meetings, I am really looking forward to the event. Last year was a thought provoking and action-packed conference covering various areas of interest. The day was officially opened by Royal Orthopaedic Hospital Chief Executive and NOA Lead CEO, Jo Williams, who welcomed delegates and introduced the opening speaker Andy Bennett, National Clinical Director for MSK conditions.

Our hospital, the South West London Elective Orthopaedic Centre(SWLEOC), was invited to speak about sustainability. Sustainability in surgery continues to gain great traction as global warming and climate change continue to become an ever-growing problem. The NHS is the largest single contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the public sector and NHS England has an annual carbon footprint of 24.9 million tonnes of CO2e. The Carbon footprint of an operating department within a large UK hospital is estimated at 5,000 tonnes CO2e/year and a single operation at 150-250kg CO2e. In light of this, there is a significant challenge ahead to enable surgery to meet net zero carbon by 2045, in line with the Greener NHS strategy. The NOA is committed to bring together member Trusts to discuss key challenges and share best practices to promote the three pillars of sustainability, financial sustainability, social sustainability, and environmental sustainability. 

Throughout the day, there were different sessions varying from sustainability, technology, innovation, narrowing health inequalities, outcomes spotlight reporting using HES and Hospital informatics dataset to clinical audit and quality improvement. Each session was full of so much knowledge and allowed members of the NOA to have live discussion amongst the speakers and delegates. Having the opportunity to be in small breakout sessions allowed for educational discussions to take place and different trusts to learn from each other. In addition to the health care professional sessions, there was also a session from the patients’ perspective. With the ever-growing waiting lists, it was interesting to hear a patient’s perspective on the on-going situation following the pandemic.

All in all, the 2021 NOA meeting was highly educational and a great day to catch up with old friends, meet new people and network. Throughout the day there was a real sense of camaraderie amongst the orthopaedic community. The 2022 conference has an impressive agenda with some eminent speakers talking throughout the day. Myself and colleagues  at SWLEOC are really looking forward to attending.