The 19th Annual BOPA Symposium

Written on Friday 2nd December 2016

The 19th Annual BOPA (British Oncology Pharmacy Association) Symposium took place on 14th - 16th October. Kirsten Wicke, Meetings and Events Manager of Succinct Medical Communications gives a brief overview of what happened at the 3 day event. #BOPA16

The 19th Annual BOPA (British Oncology Pharmacy Association) Symposium was held in Manchester Central on 14th – 16th October 2016. The event attracted over 450 delegates all interested in discussing issues relating to care of patients, challenges regarding funding and access to treatments, and importantly to share their own experiences in the clinic with one another. 

BOPA Chair Helen Flint commenced proceedings by giving an overview of the upcoming symposium, including a big thanks to the sponsors, the BOPA committee and importantly, all the speakers. It was a packed agenda, featuring pre-conference workshops, plenary sessions, a wide array of parallel break-out streams, sponsored satellite presentations, the industry exhibition and the annual poster competitions. 

The introduction was ended by Helen commending the ‘Hello My Name Is’ Campaign developed in 2013 by medical registrar Dr Kate Granger, who passed away in July this year. The campaign encourages all NHS staff to introduce themselves whenever they attend a patient. In the same spirit, Helen encouraged delegates to say ‘Hello my name is’ to all the new faces they met at the Symposium. 

The event got going with speaker Gwilym Thompson, Health Economics Lead at Janssen discussing ‘Health Economics in the real-world setting’. This pre-conference workshop provided insight into ‘real-world’ health economics, i.e. not the ‘hard-core’ discipline of healthcare modelling based on randomised controlled trials, but the use of front-line evidence to assess the value of a new treatment in terms of patients, the NHS and broader society. When looking for real-world evidence, the researcher must think carefully about what question/questions to ask. 

Amanda Pulfer, Joint Managing Director of pH Associates (an OPEN Health company) a business specialising in real world evidence, spoke during the ‘Utilising Real World Data in Oncology’ session. Topics covered, specifically focussing on oncology, included:

  1. What is real world data?
  2. Why is real world data important to the NHS?
  3. How do you collect real world data?
  4. How is real world data used?

Continuing to look toward future changes in care, attendees also heard about a variety of interesting clinical updates from experts in the field, on such subjects as Myeloma, ‘what’s new in pancreas cancer?’ and side effects in immunotherapy. 

The Annual Symposium would not be complete without the Succinct lecture ‒ an inspirational talk from outside of the clinical world, offering important messages for oncology pharmacists. In addition to enhancing clinical knowledge and skills, BOPA also provides an opportunity for broader personal development which this year came in the form of speak Jim Lawless’s ‘Taming Tigers’ talk. The tigers in Jim’s talk are not striped felines. They are the self-imposed barriers that stop us from achieving (or even attempting) some of the goals that face us throughout our lives.

His ten rules for taming the tigers in our lives included: 

  • Act boldly ‒ there is never a ‘perfect time’ for change or innovation, so just get on with it
  • Re-write your rulebook. Challenge the tiger that says you are not capable of making change happen
  • Never, never give up

He urged pharmacists to identify the tigers that stand in the way of achieving change and innovation in the workplace and the broader NHS. Every BOPA member, he said, has the potential to challenge their managers, no matter how senior. ‘Make sure it is you, not someone else, who is writing the story of your life.’ 

Succinct Medical Communications (an OPEN Health company) serve as Secretariat to BOPA and are actively involved in the planning and execution of the meeting, which has always proved to be both a great success and fantastic fun as well. If you are interested in learning about BOPA or any other events that Succinct Medical Communications deliver, please contact Kirsten Wicke, Meeting & Events Manager, Succinct Medical Communications at or 01628 481 112


If you would like to register as a BOPA member and view the full meeting report, visit Date for the diary: The 20th Annual BOPA Symposium, 6th – 8th October 2017, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre. 

With special thanks to Janis Smy, Freelance Senior Medical Writer, for her contribution to this article.