Mr Rowan Pool

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, The Great Debate 2010

Q: Was 2010 your first experience of The Great Debate?

A: No, I have been twice before.

Q: What made you decide to attend The Great Debate again?

A: Certainly the debate element and the variety of different views and opinions are reason enough for me to come back again and again. Other meetings are often run by 1-2 people and you only hear their views. The Great Debate allows you to hear the opinions of large numbers of people. The format is different to other meetings I have attended and provides greater depth as well as breadth of opinion.

Q: How would you describe The Great Debate in three words?

A: Educational; no matter how much surgery you do, at this meeting you pick up new points and new ideas. Enjoyable; the cut and thrust of the debate. Comforting; to realise your practice and ideas are mirrored by other people and you are within that envelope of opinion with many others.

Q: Which session did you find most interesting and why?

A: The session I enjoyed most dealt with the subject of bearing surfaces (‘Bearings: Spoilt for choice or not yet good enough’). There is quite a breadth, even a division, of opinion on which bearing surfaces you should be using and when you should be using them. To listen to the different opinions, experiences and points of view was great.

Q: Did the faculty live up to your expectations?

A: Yes, it was impressive and a great opportunity to pick-up on a vast range of experience that spanned the geographical divides. My expectations were high, and I wasn’t disappointed. The pure quality of the faculty was truly excellent I also thought the program was very well balanced.

Q: Did you find the interactive element beneficial?

A: Absolutely. Naturally, there is a great breadth of opinion coming from the faculty, and this is only enhanced by the added dimension of the audience interaction. As much as anything else, what this format provides is a dialogue between delegates and faculty, sharing opinions and ultimately seeing where your practise sits in comparison to your colleagues.
This is just one point that makes The Great Debate so much more enjoyable and informative than perhaps a more didactic type of lecture forum.

Q: Would you recommend The Great Debate to Registrars?

A: Yes, it’s a great learning experience. The Registrar has the unique opportunity of listening to so many different opinions which helps to polarise ideas. To be able to work their way through the debate and come up with their own opinion is an important part of what being a Consultant is about.

Q: Will you change or adjust any of your practice as a result of any of the debates?

A: There are a few things coming through that are definitely of interest, particularly on the arthroscopic side, but at this moment in time I’m not sure that I would change my practice. This is part of the reason for continuing to attend The Great Debate, because ideas and techniques develop, opinions change and The Great Debate is a great way keep up with current thinking.

Q: Were you surprised by any of the voting results?

A: There was a question which asked whether arthroscopic surgery formed an integral part of your hip practice. The results revealed that less than 15% of the population of Consultants present were actually doing arthroscopic surgery as part of their general hip practice.
I found this really interesting because it means that the majority of Consultants probably do things like joint replacement, but don’t actually get involved in the other aspects of hip pathology. While I don’t believe that arthroscopic surgery is the be all and end all, I do think it’s an important part of a general hip practice – it is certainly part of mine.

Q: Did you find the international presence beneficial to your learning?

A: Yes, I did. The international faculty’s experience was important. Irrespective of what country they are working in, the population and the pathology are the same.
To have a faculty with that breadth of knowledge is very important, but also there is a sense that it is an international problem. Hip pathology is not simply associated with Great Britain; it’s universal and there are people from around the world whose experiences and opinions are invaluable.

Q: What differentiates The Great Debate from other meetings?

A: Apart from the faculty debate, there is the ability to get the consensus view from the whole population of the audience at the end of each session.
While you may have a person standing on the podium promoting this is what you should be doing, when you actually put that point to the whole audience, it often comes down to a much more general view and one that reassuringly encompasses your own practice.