On Friday 17th and Saturday 18th November the All Island CHD Network Annual Conference was held in Belfast for the first time. Over the course of two days, over 350 delegates came together to hear from national and international experts in the field of congenital heart disease including surgeons, consultants, nurses, clinical psychologists and patients.
The Friday programme was tailored to a clinical audience and Saturday’s a patient and family audience, with speakers sharing their experience and expertise across both days. We were thrilled to hear from Keynote Speaker Dr Chris Caldarone (Surgeon in Chief, Hospital for Sick Children Toronto) who travelled from Canada to join the conference and delivered two fascinating and inspiring talks about the importance of leadership within a clinical setting and how to encourage and develop innovative approaches for the treatment of congenital heart defects.
Other highlights of the conference included Dr Frank Casey (Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist, RBHSC) and Dr Paul Oslizlok’s (Consultant Paediatric Cardioloist, OLCHC) joint presentation on the development of the All Island CHD Network, and the talks given by two patients – Rianna McAteer (17) and Siobhan Quinn (37) about the realities of growing up with CHD.
The conference is a wonderful opportunity for our heart families to meet and hear from a range of clinical and allied health professionals, and we were delighted that so many families from RoI were able to join us in Belfast to benefit from this knowledge, meet with other heart families and engage in the network’s development.
We are already looking forward to 2018’s conference in Dublin!