River Plate meeting: first collaboration between urologists from Argentina, Uruguay and the UK

The RSM-River Plate Meeting on the 24th October 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina was the first of a new collaboration between Urologists from Argentina, Uruguay and the United Kingdom. It was the brainchild of British/Argentinian Urologist Mr Tom Rosenbaum and Professor Peter Thompson, both on the Council of the RSM Section of Urology, and Dr Alejandro Nolazco, head of Urology of the Hospital Británico in Buenos Aires. The River Plate or ‘Rio de la Plata’ is the confluence of the Uruguay and Paraná Rivers, and these also demarcate the borders of Argentina and Uruguay. A watery tribute is not lost on a urology meeting, but the rivers are also a symbol of connection between different Nations. The meeting aimed for ‘teaching and education – purely apolitical – a forum for collaboration and knowledge.’

Those in attendance included Urologists, both seniors and trainees, from the British Hospitals (Hospitales Británicos) of Buenos Aires, Rosario (both Argentina) and Montevideo (Uruguay). These hospitals share a common history as being established for British expatriates living in these lands, but over time they have developed into leading private hospitals serving their local and international communities. Care, medical consultations and teaching are conducted in Spanish. British Consultants and members of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) were also attending this meeting of collaboration. The RSM is no stranger to meetings abroad, but this was a special opportunity to re-build bridges and establish connections with South Atlantic Latin America and continue to spread collective knowledge in new corners of the globe.

A packed room of delegates were treated to presentations describing each hospital and their histories: plus the history of the RSM. The Chief of Hospital Británico, Buenos Aires was presented with a book on the History of the RSM (pictured below).

The best-dressed presenter and delegate was the Matron of Hospital Británico of Buenos Aires whose uniform was spectacular (pictured below left). She highlighted the traditions and affiliation of the nursing staff from her hospital with the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing of St. Thomas’ Hospital, London.

Then there were presentations (in English) by local trainees on a range of topics. Argentinian and Uruguayan Medical Students and Surgical Trainees are allocated to train at the British Hospitals in their respective countries. The trainees presenting at the RSM-River Plate Meeting had competitively applied to have their abstracts successfully accepted for presentation. The structure of this part of the meeting followed standard British RSM format, including the mark scheme for presentations. Presenters were marked on the quality and originality of their presentation and their communication skills, including their ability to answer questions. Prizes were donated by the RSM, with 1st prize given for the presentation on the History of Circumcision; and 2nd prize awarded to the presentation on laparoscopic donor nephrectomy for renal transplantation. The standard was high and reflected a range of work occurring in the respective centres of the presenters; but the winning two were especially interesting, original and well presented. Inspiring the next generation was a key theme for the meeting, and the subject of fellowships within the three countries was highlighted as an excellent way to improve urological skills and knowledge.

Relationships between Argentina and the United Kingdom have historically had some strains but this was a meeting of common minds with a look towards the future. The meeting was featured in the English Argentinean Newspaper The Buenos Aires Herald, entitled: ‘British doctors look to inspire next generation’, following an interview with Mr Thompson (pictured below).

The ethos of collaboration was strengthened in a welcoming speech given by the British Ambassador Mark Kent, who congratulated the meeting’s aims and objectives and promised support for future similar activities before honouring us with afternoon tea and a tour of the magnificent building and gardens (picture below). 

The day was a great success, all thanks to the organisers. Afterwards Dr Nolazco, who also treated us to impeccable hospitality, kindly wrote: “We wish to thank the Royal Society of Medicine for sending such as distinguished group of professionals to participate in our educational event. We were extremely pleased with their visit and feel that it was a very fruitful meeting for the residents in training. We hope that similar events can be organised in the future.”

Picture above: Distinguished delegates and presenters

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