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That's a wrap from RCOG World Congress 2023!

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We would like to say a huge thank to you all our sponsors and exhibitors for supporting #RCOG2023! 

We’ve had an incredible three days at #RCOG2023, with 550+ people visiting our Union Street headquarters for the opportunity to learn from and network with global peers.

Thank you from all of us at the RCOG!

“The World Congress isn’t just about the scientific programme, it’s also a wonderful chance to meet colleagues from across the world. I have really enjoyed the chance to get to know you over the last three days”

Ranee Thakar, RCOG President

Celebrating success: RCOG World Congress is an opportunity for individuals across all career stages in O&G to share their latest research and ideas, supporting our mission to improve women’s healthcare globally. 

The top 500 abstracts at #RCOG2023 were included in a special World Congress online supplement of BJOG. To mark the end of our annual flagship event and celebrate their fantastic work, the top three abstract authors had the opportunity to present to their global peers.

Congratulations to our top abstract authors!

Jane Daniels – Preventing recurrence of endometriosis by long-acting progestogen therapy: The PRE-EMPT randomised trial

Miranda Geddes-Barton – Inequalities in maternal health outcomes: A nationwide cohort study

Kelechi Njoku – Detection of endometrial cancer in cervico-vaginal fluid, blood plasma and urine

And congratulations again to all of our winners across the three days of #RCOG2023.

Best poster presentation in session

Santanu Acharya - Preventable Childbirth Mortality Reduction - Private/Public Partnership ,Translational Training Model – CALMED,TENA

Despoina Kitmiridou - Uterine artery Doppler indices and adverse perinatal outcomes: a prospective cohort study

Yinka Fung - Does Virtual Reality Technology Reduce Pain and Anxiety During Outpatient Hysteroscopy?

Shen Chuen Khaw - Reducing Surgical Site Infections in Caesarean Sections: An evidenced-based maternity care bundle

Elinor Carlisle - Trainee Open Discussion Groups: Supporting Wellbeing in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Trainees

Manjula Samyraju - Identifying Intrapartum Fetal Early Warning Signs (FEWS) and why we need it?

Mairead Black - Core outcome set for studies of pregnant women with multimorbidity

Umme Habiba – Immediate removal of urinary catheter; a step closer to enhanced recovery?

Oladipupo Olalere - Development of an Evidence-Based Nipple Care Pathway for New Breastfeeding Mothers

Amelia Fisher - Personalised Vulval Care Plans: Individualising the management of vulval skin conditions

Charla Mae Co - Hyperemesis Gravidarum Resulting to Myocardial Infarction With Non-Obstructive Coronary Arteries (MINOCA)

Emily Smitten - Why are patients with primary ovarian cancer not receiving standard treatment?

Nargis Mahmood - Risk Assessment by Stratification of Raised sFlt-1/PlGF Ratio in Suspected Pre-eclampsia

Malaika Jindal - Safe and effective vagal-nerve-stimulation for new-onset refractory status-epilepticus (NORSE) in early pregnancy

Jenna Frizelle (joint winner) - Carboprost: A safe second-line option in managing abortion and intrauterine fetal death?

Sobia Hamid (joint winner) - Rare causes of secondary Post-Partum Hemorrhage (PPH).

Amanda Moore - Improving experiences of gestational diabetes in pregnancy and reducing future diabetes risk.

Michelle Cooper - Acceptability of a digital health intervention to inform women about postpartum contraception

Tiffany Wong - Harnessing augmented reality technology for medical education –A virtual abdominal hysterectomy

Jason Gardosi - Most fetal weight standards miss increased stillbirth risk in obese mothers’ pregnancies

Mark Lui - Diagnostic value of early postnatal compared with standard oral glucose tolerance test.

Henry Wasswa - One-stop facility model, localizing WHO Comprehensive Abortion Care Guidelines in Uganda.

Stamatina Iliodromiti - Does PCOS increase Cardiovascular morbidity/mortality? A cohort study from the UK-biobank

Best overall poster presentations at Congress

3rd prize
Michelle Cooper - Acceptability of a digital health intervention to inform women about postpartum contraception

2nd prize
Elinor Carlisle - Trainee Open Discussion Groups: Supporting Wellbeing in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Trainees

Emily Smitten - Why are patients with primary ovarian cancer not receiving standard treatment?

Nargis Mahmood - Risk Assessment by Stratification of Raised sFlt-1/PlGF Ratio in Suspected Pre-eclampsia

Henry Wasswa - One-stop facility model, localizing WHO Comprehensive Abortion Care Guidelines in Uganda

1st prize
Amelia Fisher - Personalised Vulval Care Plans: Individualising the management of vulval skin conditions

Best oral presentation in session

Maddalena Ardissino - Maternal hemodynamic traits and adverse outcomes in pregnancy: a Mendelian randomization study

James Morris - Fertility preservation outcomes are comparable in luteal and follicular oncology patients

Susan Logan - Age of menopause, prevalence & correlates of menopausal symptoms in midlife Singaporean women

Mary Garven - Ayrshire and Arran’s Team Approach to PRAMS (Pregnancy Anaemia Management Scotland)

Sidrah Nausheen - Community-based initiative to address menstrual hygiene of adolescent girls & women in Pakistan

Sofia Mastrodima-Polychroniou - Outcomes of fetal surgery for open spina bifida, under NHS commissioning

Jocelynn Cook (joint winner) - Prenatal substance exposures and mental health trajectories

Dyuti Coomar (joint winner) - Lifestyle interventions to prevent gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM): individual participant data meta-analysis

Katie Cornthwaite - Qualitative, simulation study of impacted fetal head (DiSIMpact): lessons for skills training

Yvonne Neubauer - Experiences of early medical abortion clinicians adopting telemedicine during the Covid-19 pandemic

Eleanor Jones - Multivariable diagnostic models to predict endometrial cancer in women with postmenopausal bleeding

Camilla Toscano-Underwood - Creation of a novel surgical training device for Caesarean Section

Takehiro Hiraoka - A new mouse model of mechanically induced adenomyosis

Natasha Hezelgrave - SuPPoRT: Stitch Progesterone or Pessary: a Randomised Trial

Tegan Triggs - Classifying small for gestational age infants as “low risk”: a prediction model

Thillagavathie Pillay - Place of preterm births at 27-31weeks: mortality and morbidity outcomes from OPTIPREM

Best oral presentation by a trainee/student

Natasha Hezelgrave - SuPPoRT: Stitch Progesterone or Pessary: a Randomised Trial

Best overall oral presentation at Congress

3rd prize: Susan Logan - Age of menopause, prevalence & correlates of menopausal symptoms in midlife Singaporean women

2nd prize: Natasha Hezelgrave - SuPPoRT: Stitch Progesterone or Pessary: a Randomised Trial

1st prize: Thillagavathie Pillay - Place of preterm births at 27-31weeks: mortality and morbidity outcomes from OPTIPREM

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• Professor Gemzell-Danielsson references Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan: "There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women."

• Life expectancy is increasing while fertility rates are decreasing.

>200 million women lack access to effective and acceptable contraception, >40% of all pregnancies are unplanned and 56% of those result in induced abortions.

• Fertility rates are declining for numerous reasons, including increased access to contraception. This is a development that has decreased unsafe abortions and increased wellbeing of both mothers and children.

• Access to contraception during the pandemic decreased drastically

Kristina Gemzell Danielsson is professor, and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, Karolinska Institutet (KI) and senior consultant at the Karolinska University Hospital. She is a member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet, which is responsible for the Nobel Price in Physiology or Medicine. She is head of the research group at the WHO collaborating centre for Research and Research Training in Human Reproduction at KI.

She is honorary clinical professor at Hong Kong University, Riga Stradins University, and an Honorary Fellow of the RCOG and FSRH. She is a member of the International Committee for contraceptive research (ICCR), the Population Council, a member of the Swedish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s (SFOGs) scientific committee, past president of the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, and FIAPAC, and a member of FIGO council.

Her research is translational (experimental, clinical trials and implementation; “from bench-to bed-to the hands of women”) with a focus on reproductive medicine (endometrial function, embryo implantation, comprehensive abortion care, emergency contraception and development of new contraceptive technology and new methods for assisted reproduction) and Global Health. She is part of the team that innovated medical abortion and published the first article on telemedicine abortion. She is the author of more than 300 scientific publications.

She initiated and participated in the development of the FIGO misoprostol guidelines. In 2012 she was awarded with the FIGO Award in Recognition of Women Obstetricians/Gynaecologists.

Sharing original research empowers doctors to stay up to date on the latest scientific breakthroughs, best practice and clinical skills. It has been fascinating to hear from so many abstract authors in oral and poster presentations over the last three days.

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Dr Sarah Quinn is a trainee in O&G from the South West (Severn). She is passionate about medical leadership, positive workplace culture and education. She has represented trainees on the RCOG National Trainees Committee as Vice Chair for Strategy and her work with the college includes leading a revamp of the RCOG Workplace Behaviour Toolkit. Her talk, 'I'm being bullied...get me out of here', as part of the postgraduate training stream included:

• Rates of bullying and undermining have increased by around threefold (15.3%)

• Workplace bullying has a significant impact on mental wellbeing and also impacts the productivity of individuals and teams.

• It is important to address bullying or incivility directly with the perpetrator.

• The workplace behaviour toolkit provides suggestions for how to behave in situations of bullying or incivility.

Dr Isioma Okolo (MBChB, DFRSH DTMH MPH MRCOG) is committed to addressing health inequalities between and within countries as a physician, surgeon, researcher, community advocate and writer.

She is an ST7 obstetrics and gynaecology doctor with a specialist interest in health equity, health systems and international health policy. She is a Paul Farmer Global Surgery Fellow at the Harvard Program in Global Surgery & Social Change; and holds a Master’s in Public Health ( clinical effectiveness) from Harvard TH Chan.

As an RCOG trainee representative on the Race Equality Task Force and Global Health Committee, her work has focused on addressing differential attainment, discrimination and racism, as well as supporting the MTI program. In her talk titled ' Why do we keep talking about race in Obstetrics and Gynaecology?' she said:

• "We see differential attainment in the way people are exposed to opportunities. The problem is we don't know exactly what causes it because the causes are multifactorial."

• "Minorities will not put themselves forward for opportunities because they are afraid of being shut down."

Over 40% of workforce in O&G are international trainees/graduates

• We need to move away from focusing on individual interpersonal racism and focus on the environments that foster those attitudes.

Takehiro Hiroaka, a JSOG trainee from Tokyo, Japan gave his abstract presentation in the benign gynae and endometriosis stream.

Dr Isioma Okolo during her talk on race in O&G

Dr Isioma Okolo during her talk on race in O&G

We've loved meeting delegates in person at our Union Street headquarters! Watch the video below to hear from Dr Diane Francoeur, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, about how she's enjoying #RCOG2023.

Using data from the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA), she discussed factors which can contribute to inequalities and adverse perinatal outcomes. Find out more about the NMPA here.

RCOG VP for Academia and Strategy Professor Asma Khalil is currently speaking in the main plenary hall on inequalities and adverse perinatal outcomes.

Standing ovation for Professor Sohail from a packed plenary room here at Union Street.

Standing ovation for Professor Sohail from a packed plenary room here at Union Street.

More positive feedback following a very impactful session.

More positive feedback following a very impactful session.

Some thoughts and reflections from our delegates after the plenary discussion with Professor Sohail:

Professor Sohail delivers a simple message to our audience: "Stop the violence against doctors. The environment must change. Sexism - see it. Name it. Stop it.”

75% of doctors in India have experienced some form of violence during their practice

• Nearly 9 in 10 physicians reported incidents of violence in the past 1 year

• Healthcare workers are 5 times more likely to experience workplace violence than workers in all other industries

The first plenary session of day three has just begun, with Professor Rubina Sohail delivering a talk on violence against doctors.

Professor Sohail graduated from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Lahore. She was awarded FRCOG ad eundem for work on maternal & neonatal health by RCOG.

She has over 25 years of teaching experience in O&G & medical education, conducting workshops & training and working in the public health domain of O&G. Currently working as professor and consultant at Hameed Latif Hospital, an affiliate of Rashid Latif Medical College.

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Over in the early pregnancy and acute gynaecology stream, Dr Tina Tellum from Norway discussed how terminology needs to inform treatment. We often have different terms for the same conditions and same terms for different conditions.

Dr Jessica Farren from UCLH talked about how miscarriage is unique as it combines a personal bereavement with significant pain and bleeding, and for some it will be their first trip to the hospital. There are an estimated 250,000 miscarriages in the UK each year.

The emotional impact of miscarriage can be devastating. The upcoming RCOG Green-top Guideline aims to increase awareness of the latest evidence-based investigations and treatments available for recurrent miscarriage.

Next up we have RCOG President Ranee Thakar and Dr Santanu Acharya hosting a session titled 'The global burden of gynaecological disease: A call to action'.

• Inequitable access to gynaecological healthcare services has a significant impact on wellbeing and quality of life of women in low and middle income countries.

• When you don’t collect data you don’t measure the problem of gynaecological disease

• When we get it right for women, everybody benefits

• If we ignore women’s gynaecological care, the sustainable development goals will not be met

Highlights from Dr Santanu Acharya's talk include:

• The RCOG Gynaecological Health Matters programme was endorsed by the government of Bangladesh. Getting the government on side is key to long term sustainability. You have to have a local partner who knows where people are receptive to change. In Bangladesh, the RCOG is working with local technical partners to increase access to gynaecological healthcare in two districts.

• We have to get women to talk about stigmatised problems, When women talk, it is powerful. We must involve women's groups and empower them with knowledge.

We now have Dr Ulrika Rehnström Loi, from The World Health Organisation (WHO) HQ Geneva, highlighting the WHO approach to tackling stigma and supporting healthcare professionals working in abortion care at the structural level.

• “[…] Abortion-related stigma occurs at the individual and structural levels has important implications for the medical, social and psychological well-being of those affected, and hinders access to quality care received by women and girls. […]”
• “[…] however, multiple interventions to mitigate stigma are targeted to manifestations at mostly the individual level with sparse interventions designed to address stigma at the structural level. […]”
• “[…] The WHO Family Planning and Comprehensive Abortion Care (FP and CAC) toolkits are designed to tackle stigma at the structural level. […] They are designed for programme and curriculum developers who are preparing or revising formal education and training programmes and curricula for the FP and CAC workforce. […]”

The toolkits are available in two volumes and are accessible online using the following links here and here.

Next up is Dorcus Tuhirirwe from MSI Reproductive Choices in Uganda highlights the Providers Share Workshop (PSW) benefits in tackling abortion-related stigma experienced by healthcare providers.

• “[…] A Providers Share Workshop (PSW) addresses stigma at the individual level. […] It encourages breaking the silence on the complex nature of working in abortion care, covering core themes of abortion-related stigma, such as support for abortion providers, team-building, stigma management, and psychosocial support. […]”
• “[…] A Providers Share Workshop (PSW) generates enlightening insights into providers’ and clients’ experiences of stigma and the much-needed opportunity for support/platform for dialogue among abortion caregivers. • • […] The workshop can be accessed online in a two-hour course delivered with short videos, animations and reflection time, and is available here […]”

In this session, Dr Godwin Akaba shares findings of the large mixed-methods global study on the experiences of stigma amongst providers of abortion care.

You can read this important stigma report here.

•“[…] abortion stigma extends to healthcare professionals working to provide services, leading to personal and professional consequences and higher feelings of "burn-out […]

• "41% of providers report worrying about telling people they work in abortion care […]”.
• "More than a third of providers of abortion care say they at least sometimes, often or always feel that other healthcare professionals look down on them or question their professional skills. […]”

We are delighted to welcome Dr Godwin Akaba, RCOG Making Abortion Safe champion and co-investigator of a stigma study. Joining Godwin is Ms Dorcus Tuhirirwe and Dr Ulrika Rehnstrom Loi.

First up in the RCOG Global health stream is a session titled 'We need to talk about abortion - Tackling stigma and building resilience to support healthcare professionals working in abortion care'.

The project team have worked closely with women and health professionals to develop a free toolkit for anyone wishing to implement the OASI care bundle in their maternity service. You can access the resources by signing up for an RCOG Learning account and searching OASI.

OASI1 reduced OASI rates and this was maintained, but high-quality mandatory training and better antenatal information is needed.

The aim of the OASI2 study was to support the sustainability of the OASI Care Bundle in maternity units that participated in OASI1, as well as evaluate strategies for introduction of the care bundle in new maternity units.

The OASI care bundle was a collaboration between the RCOG, Royal College of Midwives, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, with funding provided by the Health Foundation. OASI1, the first project, aimed to reduce rates of obstetric sphincter anal injury (OASI) (also known as severe tears), with the implementation of a care bundle in 16 maternity units across the UK.

Our final day of #RCOG2023 started with sessions covering a range of topics, including an update on our OASI2 study.

Dr Jeanne Conry closing the day with her plenary discussion

Dr Jeanne Conry closing the day with her plenary discussion

In the afternoon, we heard from a speakers on issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community, mental health of healthcare workers and the impact of climate change in women's health.

We also heard from the RCOG's Women's Network, with a series of talks on how listening to service users can improve O&G care. The Women’s Network is a strategic RCOG committee, with 14 core lay members and 4 clinicians from across the UK. They inform the College about issues affecting women during pregnancy, labour and birth, around fertility and gynaecological conditions through to the menopause and women’s health in later life. You can find out more about the network here.

The morning continued with sessions on maternal and fetal medicine, workforce and leadership and reproductive care for underprivileged women.

In the first plenary session of the day, Dr Maureen Phipps delivered a thought provoking talk on reproductive freedom.

During the early morning sessions, Dr Nia Jones discussed obstetric care of refugee and asylum seeking women, and the detrimental effect of moving women after 20 weeks' gestation or shortly after birth.

Before we look ahead to what's on the agenda for day three, here are some highlights from yesterday.