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Visit of Israeli Colorectal Surgeons

On Monday 2nd March 2020 the Association hosted the group of visiting Israeli Colorectal Surgeons led by Prof Alex Deutsch (Beilinson Hospital, Petach Tikva) and Dr Reuven Weil (Hasharon Hospital, Petach Tikva).

The visit was supported by the Israel, Britain and the Commonwealth Association John Firman Fund and the David Yanir Foundation.

While in the UK they were the guests of Mr Richard Cohen (University College London Hospital), Mr Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (Kings College Hospital) and Mr Andrew Williams (St Thomas’s Hospital), and attending a course at Basingstoke Hospital.

The following visitors (with their hospital affiliation) took part:

Dr Elad Boaz (Shaarei Zedek Hospital, Petach Tikva)
Dr Rabia Darwasha (Barzilai Hospital, Ashkelon)
Dr Yael Feferman (Rabin Medical Centre, Petach Tikva)
Dr Vladimir Gaziantis (Shamir Medical Centre, Tzrifin)
Dr Asaf Harbi (Rambam Hospital, Haifa)
Dr Dror Karni (Haemek Medical Centre, Afula)
Dr Muhammad Mansour (Galilee Medical Centre, Nahariyah)
Dr Igor Markovich (Hasharon Hospital, Petach Tikva)
Dr Mai Mazarieb (Beilinson Hospital, Petach Tikva)
Dr Yaron Rudnicki (Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba)
Dr Ken Dror Shai (Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba)
Dr Alon Wachtel (Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot)

After a reception there was a discussion meeting on the topic of Gut Neuroendocrine Tumours – “NET: for any surgeon or not?”

The session was introduced by Prof Deutsch. Two cases of neuroendocrine tumours were presented, from Drs Feferman and Ken Dror.

This was followed by an authoritative review of the subject from Prof Martyn Caplin (Professor of Gastroenterology and Neuroendocrine Tumour Biology, Royal Free Hospital and University College London) and Prof Maralyn Druce (London Association Chair and Professor of Endocrine Medicine and Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, Barts Health NHS Trust).

On her return to Israel Dr Fefernan wrote to thank the Association for their hospitality. She said that she was honored to receive the scholarship and was grateful for the opportunities it provided. In the UK she was attached to University College London Hospital. While there she had  learned about the UK healthcare system, and the methods of organization and provision. From a clinical perspective she had the opportunity to observe several operations. She was especially grateful to Mr. Richard Cohen for his personally care and attention.

A visit to the House of Lords had been arranged for the group, and Dr Fefernan said that she was fortunate to be shown round by Lords Polak and O'Shaughnessy, whose stories and insights about small things that reflected centuries of British culture and civilization. The Colorectal Diseases Masterclass (M25) at Basingstoke was very well organized and she felt she had learned a great deal from it. Overall the experience had her abilities as a young colorectal surgeon, and she looked forward to implementing what she had learned both about working conditions and cancer treatment on her return to Israel.


On 11th March the Association organised a discussion meeting to hear Prof Paltiel talk about the theme of “Women in Medicine – an Israeli Perspective”.

This meeting followed on from Prof Parveen Kumar’s 2017 meeting with the leading women in Israeli medicine, held at the British Embassy in Ramat Gan, when she was Henry Cohen Visiting Professor. In her subsequent lecture to the Association’s Annual General Meeting Prof Kumar noted that Dr Lotte Newman had played a leading role in the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), as she had done in the Association.

In her talk Prof Paltiel reviewed the status quo in Israel. As in the UK women are not represented proportionately  in surgical specialities and academic medicine. The Israeli Medical Association Taskforce had summarised the situation in 2015, and their report with recommendations was published recently.

In conclusion Prof Paltiel summarised her personal experience. She said that we should have no regrets – meaning doing more (training, volunteering, showing up) than is reasonable at any given time. Biology is fate not a handicap; a realistic professional mix of clinical, teaching and research) can lead to flexibility if you are well-trained; work-life balance requires decisions rather than defaults. You need to choose your partner (and nanny) carefully and to be a mentor to other women. But most of all “you must enjoy life and the greatest privilege of all – being a doctor!”

Two Association members, Dr Nicola Rosenfelder (Consultant Oncologist) and Dr Naomi Katz (General Practitioner and Care Commissioning Group Vice Chair) outlined their perception of the present situation in the UK. The areas where women were disadvantaged and / or “disappeared” were noted, but the progress that had been made in the 21st century was reflected in the changes that have occurred in College hierarchy and in senior NHS management respectively. Notably women that (manage to?) emerge from the stresses of postgraduate training period, medicine is an excellent career in which they had the potential to thrive.

Senior members of the UK MWF were at the event and took part in the discussion. The immediate past President, Prof Parveen Kumar, and the current President, Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, reflected on their personal experiences. Prof Kumar recalled her situation as the only woman on a Gastroenterology Unit at Barts, and compared this with the present; and Dr Bowden-Jones noted that she had been able to pursue an academic and clinical career in the field of addiction psychiatry successfully.

A vote of thanks to all the participants was proposed by Prof Liz Lightstone.