This year’s conference, entitled “A holistic approach to menopause care: HRT and beyond”, was held at the Royal College of Physicians, London on 5 and 6 July 2018.

Click to enlarge photos:

Photographers: Kate Darkins Photography and Mr Peter Greenhouse MA FRCOG FFSRH

The 28th BMS annual conference once again took place at the Royal College of Physicians on 5 and 6 July. For the first time in more than 10 years, the conference was a sell-out. This was encouraging and indicative of the increased awareness of menopause and post reproductive health in the media and the reawakening of interest amongst healthcare professionals. Membership currently stands at 815 – the last time the Society had over 800 members was in 2008 – another encouraging sign.

I know a small number of members tried to book during the week before the conference and were very disappointed to learn that there were no places left. In future, we will contact you before opening registration to the public. This will give you the opportunity to book early and guarantee your place.

The programme received many plaudits this year, not least for its strong international presence. We were pleased to welcome Professor James A Simon from Washington to give the British Menopause Society Annual Lecture and Professor Andrea Genazzani who delivered the Pat Patterson Memorial Lecture. We also welcomed Dr Marianne Canonico from Paris and Professor Peyman Hadji from Frankfurt.

The International Menopause Society invited session was to have featured Professor Serge Rozenberg and Professor Johannes Bitzer. Serge arrived safely on Eurostar and delivered his lecture. However, Professor Bitzer found himself grounded at Basel airport when his flight was cancelled and no other flights were available. Nick Panay jumped into the fray and gave his own lecture (scheduled for Friday) and Mary Ann Lumsden, President of the IMS, gave Johannes’ lecture in Nick’s slot on day two. All very complicated, but a respectable compromise given the circumstances.

Thanks to all our speakers: Professor Richard Anderson; Professor Scott Nelson; Professor Peter Collins, Mr Michael Dooley; Mr Arvind Vashisht and Dr Fiona Lewis. Whether from the United States, Europe or the four corners of the United Kingdom, all our speakers not only delivered superb lectures, but travelled from far afield to give them, ex gratia. Our policy, in line with other medical charities and societies, is to pay expenses, but we do not offer fees. This policy applies throughout our education programme.

Mention must also be made of this year’s debate: This house believes that menopausal women receiving HRT should be advised to undergo hysterectomy to benefit from estrogen only HRT instead of combined HRT. Joan Pitkin, fully gowned, spoke for the motion and Heather Currie, in flat cap, wellies and boiler suit, spoke against. The session was chaired immaculately by Kathy Abernethy and Joan managed to increase her vote share, but ultimately Heather won the debate. A significant number of delegates cited the debate as ‘One of the highlights of my day’.

Overall, the evaluations were very positive. Although this year, the Menopause Café produced a somewhat ‘Marmite’ reaction: many saying ‘best ever’ and ‘At last you’ve cracked it’. Some others felt it wasn’t long enough and that the groups were too big. The groups were bigger this year because of the sell out and the number of break out rooms available to us at the RCP. We will make sure this is addressed when we return to Chesford Grange next year.

Overwhelmingly though, delegates felt that the conference was well-organised, interesting and instructive and almost all sessions and speakers received 4s and 5s. The words ‘outstanding’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘informative’ seemed to crop up regularly, which is encouraging. Mike Savvas and Haitham Hamoda, joint chairman of the programme planning group (PPG) and the PPG members Heather Currie, Jane Davis, Amanda Hillard, Anne MacGregor, Lynne Robinson and Vikram Talaulikar are to be congratulated on securing excellent speakers and putting together a first class programme.


A selection of the many tweets coming out of the conference: