Latest News

What are the priorities for the polio incident response?

A panel discussion on this topic took place on Tuesday 20th September.

The panellists were:

  • Dr Jonathan Cohen (Head of Paediatric Infectious Diseases Services, Evelina London Children’s Hospital at St Thomas’),
  • Dr Mary Ramsay (Director of Public Health Programmes at the UK Health Safety Agency),
  • Dr Leonora Weil (Public Health Consultant, UK Health Security Agency, London; Co-Director, NHS London COVID Legacy and Equity Partnership, focussing on closing the equity gap in routine immunisations, screening and access to good health; and lead for a multi-stakeholder pan London Task Force for UKHSA and the NHS to increase rates of uptake for all childhood vaccinations);
  • Dr Joseph Spitzer (General Practitioner, North – East London) and
  • Dr Ben Kasstan (medical anthropologist at the University of Bristol and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).

Further details about these panellists can be accessed here.

Prof David Katz was in the chair and Dr Fiona Sim proposed a vote of thanks.

The starting point for this panel discussion was that doctors and healthcare professionals need to be aware of the “real story” of the polio incident as a starting point for what they say to patients, to communities and to colleagues asking questions. Given the Jewish linkage that has been reported during the current incident, it is a particularly relevant issue for Jewish doctors – not only because cases might arise, but also to combat any misinformation.

We were fortunate to be able to call on several experts involved in aspects of the incident to lead us through and educate us about the issues involved.

We heard about polio as an infectious disease, about the virus itself; and about what wastewater analysis is and what it teaches us.

We were given an overview of the response programme, learned about the role of general practice in vaccination and also learned about the factors which influence communities to become better engaged in vaccination strategies.

Drs Cohen, Ramsay, Weil and Kasstan have kindly made their powerpoint presentations available.

For CPD purposes the specific learning objectives of the event can be accessed here.

Watch a recording of the full event here.

Prof Ian Goodman delivered the Presidential Lecture on 24th November. The lecture can be accessed here .

"The long and winding road - from Anfield to Uxbridge - via Penny Lane”

Prof Ian Goodman is Director, Primary Care Strategy, and lead GP at Brunel Medical School. He is a GP Principal in Northwood Middlesex where he has been a partner since 1986; senior partner since 1996; and a GP trainer (Northwick Park Scheme,1990-2017). Ian was IT lead and Caldicott Guardian for Hillingdon PCT; and then, after NHS reorganization, became chair Hillingdon CCG (2012-21). also serving as chair of the NW London CCG Collaboration Board. He is currently lead GP and GP representative for NHS Hillingdon on the NW London CCG Governing Body. Ian has taken a major interest in healthcare computerization and data management. He was computer advisor for NHS Hillingdon Family Health services authority (1988-2011) and led the NW London project to computerise General Practice in the 1990s. He was a member of the NHS Security and Confidentiality Committee which became the Database Monitoring Subgroup of the National Information Governance Board (1996 – 2010). Ian chaired the Whole Systems Integrated Care (WSIC) pilot IT workstream, and then the WSIC database development board. He is the NW London lead WSIC GP. WSIC is a database of almost everyone in NW London (2.2million), collecting data from Primary Care, secondary care, community services, mental health services and social services. This unique database, integrating data from the social care and health sector, is also the largest of its kind in Europe. During the COVID pandemic WSIC was extremely useful in both tracking the care of patients from primary to secondary care and back into primary care, for capacity planning for both primary and secondary care and for analysing outcomes. Now it is also being used for tracking COVID vaccinations and analysing outcomes for vaccinated patients. His other current roles are as Co-Chair, NWL ICS Data and Analytics Steering Group; Chair, NW London Primary Care Digital Strategy Board; Chair, Weekly Hillingdon Covid-19 Co-ordination Hub Meeting; and GP lead, NW London virtual renal clinic.

In his Presidential Lecture Ian focussed on the influences that contributed to his career and highlighted – using his own experiences - the huge potential of opportunities there are as a GP.

Speaker: Dr Tamar Ashkenazi
Director of the Israeli National Transplant Centre.

Dr Ashkenazi is a registered nurse, and undertook her doctoral research at Tel Aviv University, presenting a thesis about adaption to loss. She has held her current position for 23 years.

She established the network of national transplant coordinators and dedicated ICU physicians in all Israeli hospitals; the ongoing process of quality control for organ donation; and developed unique process dedicated to accompanying and supporting families of organ donors. She moderates grief support groups for bereaved organ donor families and published a book - "Mourning – the day after", proposing a variety of practical ways to cope with various situations over time after donation - associated bereavement with combined input of parents, brothers and children who have experienced bereavement.

In her talk Dr Ashkenazi will introduce us to her remarkable work and also talk about how she has developed the Israeli live donation system which includes an international kidney pair programme between pairs who do not have a match.

Please pre-register here.

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.