Annual Report 2015

Executive Chair’s Report to the Annual General Meeting – 25th June 2016

Annual General Meeting

Prof Sir Leszek Borysiewicz (Henry Cohen Visiting Professor, 2014) addressed the Annual General Meeting on the theme of “The University, Health Care and Industry Interface: lessons learned from Israel, the UK and Europe”.

Care of the Child – Practical Jewish Medical Ethics 

A one day meeting was held at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue on the theme: “Care of the Child”. Panel discussions included: “The child is more than a small adult” (Rabbi Joseph Dweck and Dr Paul de Keyser); “End of life issues” (Prof Alan Jotkowitz, Prof John Wyatt and Rabbi Wilson); “Genetics” (Dr Ian Ellis, Dayan Binstock, Rabbi Birnbaum and Prof Jotkowitz); “Brit Milah” (Prof Shimon Glick, Prof Katz and Dr Spitzer); and “Child protection” (chaired by Dr Michael Coren, with Dr Anthony Cohn, Dr Caroline Fertleman, Dr Caroline Lindsey, Prof Glick and Dayan Gelley). Prof Kottek (Hebrew University paediatrician and medical historian) spoke about the way that the embryo is discussed in the Talmud. 

Presidential Address

Dr Laurence Buckman delivered the Presidential address entitled “Ordinary Jewish doctor, extraordinary job”, outlining the training he had received on the way to becoming the Chairman of the UK¹s GPs.  He noted the similarities between consultation skills known to all doctors, and negotiation between the Profession and government, and provided insight into “how things happened” in the semi-secret world of politics, and into the Health Secretaries he had met or dealt with while at the helm of General Practice.  He concluded by looking at the role of a Jew in that position and what could be done to minimise anti-Semitism in medicine. 

Medical Students

Eleven elective bursaries have been awarded to medical students. Six went to Israel, and five – all active in their local Jewish medical student group – went to other locations. The medical student groups have been active in London and Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Nottingham. In addition to social events and lectures on medical themes, the London group have also promoted interfaith dialogue and organised a trial student OSCE.

Advisory and Educational Role

Association members have continued to provide expert advice to the Board of Deputies and other Jewish organisations about professional issues during the year. Issues of concern have been the continued public debate about brit milah, issues surrounding coroner services and death certification; development of minimal invasive autopsy services; and about genetic screening. Two court rulings – about female genital mutilation, where neonatal male circumcision for religious reasons was clearly designated as within the law, and about deprivation of liberty under the Mental Capacity Act, which has implications for coroner referrals – have had to be analysed and explored with regard to  their impact on Jewish families and their practices. Advice from the Association about these matters has also been sought both by European doctors and by several European Jewish organisations.

The other area where Association members have had to play a particularly active role during the year under review has been in responding to adverse anti – Israel comment relating  to “medical issues”, which arose during the hostilities in Gaza during July and August 2014. This remains a matter of ongoing concern, which clearly falls within the remit of “supporting the UK’s Jewish medical professionals and informing on Jewish and Israeli medical approaches and achievements”. Much time and effort has had to be devoted to this. Several members have been involved with this; in particular the role of Prof David Stone and Prof Sir Mark Pepys has been outstanding.

Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner took place in March 2015 with Prof A Mark Clarfield as guest speaker. He told a large gathering about how his experiences in Canada had led to his major role in provision of geriatric care in Israel.

Henry Cohen Visiting Professor

Prof Terence Stephenson visited Israel in June 2015. This visit was arranged together with the British Friends of the Hebrew University. He started his visit on the Ein Kerem campus, where the Dean, Prof Lichtstein hosted sessions with educationalists and researchers; he met with Prof Halevy at Shaarei Zedek Hospital and heard about Israeli medical services; and he met with the President, Prof Ben Sasson on Mount Scopus. Following these Jerusalem based meetings he was hosted by Prof Zajfman (Weizmann Institute), Prof Amos Katz and Dr Manuel Katz (Ben Gurion University Medical School / Rahat Community Paediatrics), Prof Gad Rennert (National Cancer Survey), Prof Peretz Lavie and Prof Shalev (Technion / Rappaport Medical School), Dr Shavit Itai (Rambam Hospital), Dr Barhoum (Western Galilee Hospital / Bar Ilan Medical School), Prof Grossman (Tel Aviv University Medical School) and Dr Amitai Ziv. He met with the head of the Israel Medical Association Scientific Committee, Prof Shapiro, and the head of their legal section, Adv Borow. A reception in his honour was hosted by the Deputy British Ambassador at the Residency. In addition, visits were arranged to Yad Vashem, Herodion and Acre.

(Prof ) David R Katz

June 2015


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