Countdown to ESPO 2023
It has been a long time since the Pediatric ORL community met face-to-face. Liverpool’s ESPO 2023 will be really special. We have been working with colleagues and friends in Europe and beyond to make sure you have a wonderful congress experience.
The academic programme is now nearly complete, with over 400 confirmed speakers from over 30 countries. Pediatric ORL thrives on collaborative working across national, political and specialty boundaries and the theme of our congress - 'Science, Clinicians and Families - Better Together' reflects that philosophy. Keynote speakers are from the worlds of science and otolaryngology and panel discussions will include contributions not only from clinicians - ORL and others - but from patients, parents and carers.
Our friends in Young ESPO have been keeping a careful eye on us as we put the programme together and there will be plenty of opportunities for them to learn and improve their surgical techniques in our Simulation Centre. We have added a new stream on ‘Innovation and Education’. Expect to learn about state-of-the art thinking in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital health care, social media and you, virtual reality, how we need to think about sustainability and the ‘green’ agenda in ORL and how best we can look after ourselves, as well as our patients, given the tumultuous times we have all come through.
Speakers and moderators have all been encouraged to make this the most interactive ESPO ever, with lots of opportunities for delegates to participate in discussions, workshops, and debates. We have several debate sessions and even some ‘fight-talks’, where eminent experts will go head-to-head on such ‘easy’ topics as who needs DISE, who needs intracapsular tonsillectomy, are we undertreating OSA, are ventilation tubes the best approach in OME and do children ever need FESS?
After the academia, enjoy the venue. Liverpool is a truly fabulous city, famous for its musical heritage, its magnificent Victorian architecture, its maritime history and a lively restaurant and bar scene centred on the waterfront and adjacent to the conference centre.
The city will have recovered from the celebrations of the Eurovision Song Contest the week before ESPO and our team will show you the high spots and make sure you are looked after. The highlight of the social programme will be a ‘networking event’ at the celebrated Anglican Cathedral – see ‘Ray’s Rambles’ below. Despite the solemnity of the surroundings, the Bishop is of a liberal persuasion, so dancing, singing along to Beatles’ hits, general merriment, jubilation and celebration is not only permitted but encouraged!
The countdown has begun, bookmark this website and we will update you as May 2023 approaches.
Ray Clarke Sujata De
On behalf of the Programme Committee for ESPO Liverpool 2023
A Message from our ESPO President:
We are at an important turning point for our society, after these two long years of a global pandemic and the successful experience of a virtual congress last year.
The planning of a congress must be one of perpetual optimization and the efforts over several years bring more and more interactivity. Let us remain collectively mobilized and ensure that we maintain this dynamic that Liverpool will offer us in order to continue to innovate, to be a source of proposals, to anticipate and imagine the future, in order to maintain a very high-level conference for the benefit of all and particularly the younger attendees. It is in this direction that Ray and his team welcome you in the best possible conditions.
Ray Clarke and Su De are passionate, supportive, authentic, committed and we can be sure that Liverpool will soon be the place of knowledge and dissemination of knowledge in pediatric ENT.
We look forward to physically meeting in Liverpool from 20-23 May 2023.
Professor Jean-Michel Triglia
President of the European Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
A Message from our ESPO Secretary General:
The biennial ESPO Congress is much more than a purely European meeting – we shall have speakers and delegates from all over the world and expect an attendance of around 1,500. Because of the pandemic the last time we were able to meet in person was 2018 in Stockholm, so it will have been 5 years since our last face-to-face conference! I look forward to catching up with friends and colleagues from around the globe in Liverpool, and anticipate a wonderful academic programme in a spectacular waterfront setting. See you there!
ESPO 2023 Programme Update
Preparations are in full swing for what we expect will be a really exciting get-together in May 2023. The theme is ‘Science, Clinicians and families- better together’, with an emphasis on how paediatric ORL specialists use scientific and technological developments to bring about better care for children and their families. The keynote speakers will highlight links between science and clinical practice. Infectious diseases paediatrician Prof Sir Andrew Pollard will be well known to many for his work developing the Covid 19 vaccine at Oxford, UK. His interests span a range of infections relevant to ORL, including the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Prof Sir Stephen O’ Rahilly (Cambridge UK) is a distinguished physician/scientist whose discoveries have transformed the management of some cases of childhood obesity, but his main passion is in bringing research discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic.
Plenary sessions will include updates on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, ORL infections, managing an airway service, new approaches to the skull base, tumours in the head and neck, and a new stream on innovation and education in paediatric ORL. Here much of the focus will be on the non-technical skills so important in the delivery of good patient care. ESPO Juniors are very much involved in planning the programme, and our young colleagues will be especially welcome at the Simulation Centre where we will have stations for hands-on teaching in a range of ORL procedures including bronchoscopy, tracheostomy, otological implants and endoscopic airway surgery.
Get the dates in your diary and bookmark the website for regular updates.
We look forward to seeing you in May 2023.
Ray Clarke and Sujata De
On behalf of the Programme Committee for ESPO Liverpool 2023
Welcome from the ESPO 2023 Programme Committee
A warm welcome awaits ESPO delegates in Liverpool in May 2023.
We are working to put together a really special programme for the first face-to-face meeting since 2018 of ESPO friends and colleagues. It will be worth the wait!
The academic programme will focus on recent developments and challenging cases, with plenty opportunities for delegates to learn from acknowledged experts across the whole range of pediatric ORL. We are working with international colleagues and with our ‘ESPO Junior’ friends to make sure Liverpool ESPO 2023 will have something for everybody.
The ‘Simulation Centre’ will be a key feature of the conference, with opportunities for junior and senior colleagues alike to develop their skills in multiple ORL procedures including airway endoscopy, otological implants, tracheostomy and state-of-the art virtual reality surgical simulators under the supervision of a world-class faculty. Debates, hot topics, top tips, and lively panel discussions will ensure you leave wanting more.
Liverpool is a wonderful cosmopolitan European city with a rich heritage and with links to every corner of the globe given its long history as a major port. We have a top-class waterside conference centre, and you will have many opportunities to explore the birthplace of modern popular music.
We promise you a rich and rewarding experience, a dedicated and enthusiastic faculty, but most importantly the chance to meet friends and colleagues in a warm and relaxed setting following the long Covid-induced dearth of academic get-togethers.
See you in May 2023.
Ray Clarke and Su De
ESPO 2023 Programme Committee
Some of the Liverpool team visiting Mathew Street.
The Cavern Club in the background, made famous by the Beatles
Ray's Rambles Blog - Post 1
Superlambananas outside the Museum of Liverpool
Welcome to Liverpool.
As you walk along the waterfront from the conference centre to take in the magnificent views
across the river Mersey you may be puzzled to come across a number of these odd hybrid
creatures! The ‘superlambanana’ was a large (5 metes tall) statue based on the artist’s
idiosyncratic vision of the future of genetic engineering combined with a look toward Liverpool’s
past. It is a fusion of a lamb and a banana, each of which would have been common sights on the
Liverpool docks in the days when the dockside was bustling with cargo ships. The original statue-
the creation of New York/Japanese artist Taro Chiezo – was bright yellow, and was adopted as a
symbol of the city during Liverpool’s year as European city of culture (2008). It became so popular and such an iconic feature of the city that multiple copies began to appear at various locations, and the tradition continues. Many are elaborately painted and decorated, and they have become a celebration of the quirky self-deprecating humour that Liverpool is famous for. A look to the future, with a glance at the past, perhaps a good metaphor for ESPO 2023. A great backdrop for ‘selfies’, see how many ‘lambananas’ you can spot on your rambles around the conference centre in May 2023!
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The ‘Fab Four’
The most popular backdrop to ’selfies’ in Liverpool is undoubtedly the bronze statue of
the Beatles at the Pier Head on the waterfront. You can visit many of the sites
associated with the Beatles, there is a Beatles Experience Museum, several themed
walks and tours, and of course the music. Oldies (like me!) can relive the ‘swinging
sixties’, while youngsters can get a feel for why their Mums, Dads and grandparents
went wild about these four Liverpool lads.
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The Tragedy of the Arandora Star
A monument on the Liverpool waterfront commemorates a sad event in the history of
the city, one that will have particular poignancy for Italian and German colleagues
The ‘Arandora Star’ was originally a luxury liner. She was re-purposed during WW2 and
set sail from Liverpool in July 1940 with over 1600 passengers and crew on board.
The passengers were mainly civilians, Italian and German nationals living in the UK
at the outbreak of war who had been detained and interned. Many were elderly and
infirm. They were being transported to internment camps in Canada. Grossly
overcrowded and with few lifeboats, the ship was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland
and more than 800 lives were lost. Bodies were washed up on beaches for months
afterwards; many of the victims are buried in coastal graveyards in Ireland and Scotland.
You can see a model of the Arandora Star at the Maritime Museum, a short walk from the conference centre.
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This terrace in Duke Street Liverpool boasts modern urban apartments much sought-after
by young professionals who like to live and work in the heart of the city. Their sleek
external appearance belies their origins. They were built in the nineteenth century as
‘back-to-back’ houses, so called because the houses behind were mirror images,
separated by a wall, so that there was only one combined entrance and exit for each
house. Housing and sanitation conditions for the poor in nineteenth and early twentieth
century Liverpool were shocking. Fire was an ever-present danger. Each of these
doors would have served up to four families, one per floor, with the worst living conditions
in the basement or ‘cellar’. Two outside toilets or ‘privies’ and one water pump would have provided for the whole terrace. Diphtheria, cholera, typhoid and dysentery were commonplace. Infant mortality rates were among the worst in the UK, prompting major reforms in public health policies.
Most ‘slum dwellings’ were demolished from the nineteen fifties onwards, but a small number -such as these- were modernized and converted in an urban renewal programme. Duke Street is now home to many fine restaurants which delegates can visit in May 2023.
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Liverpool's 'Baltic triangle'
Liverpool has long and much cherished links with the Baltic countries. In the heyday of the city
as a major port, ships from Northern Europe would unload their cargo here. Dockside
warehouses housed grain, wood and other merchandise from Northern Europe. As the
shipping industry declined, some of the old storehouses fell into disrepair, but an enthusiastic
urban renewal project in the last few years has brought the area back to life. It is now a ‘hip’
quarter, and home to craft shops, artisan bakeries, cafes, restaurants and art studios. The
warehouse walls are a favoured site for graffiti and an ever-changing variety of street art.
The Baltic Triangle is a short walk from the conference centre. All that education can be thirsty work, so take some time out to enjoy a craft beer!
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The Chinese Arch
We Liverpudlians are proud of our historical association with Chinese friends and colleagues.
The Chinese Arch in Liverpool marks the entrance to ‘Chinatown’, home to the oldest Chinese
neighborhood in Europe. The arch was gifted to the city of Liverpool by Shanghai, where it was put
together by skilled craftsmen and women. It boasts two hundred dragons, five roofs and two magnificent
bronze lions, positioned in accordance with the principles of ‘Feng-Shui’. The arch commemorates long
and much-prized trade and cultural associations between the cities.
Chinese dock workers arrived in Liverpool in the early nineteenth century, when they traded silk and
cotton goods. The Blue Funnel shipping line employed large numbers of Chinese seamen. Inevitably
many succumbed to the charms of the local Liverpool women! A strong and much-loved community soon
developed, and several Chinese businesses thrive to this day.
Chinatown is a short walk from the Conference Centre. Well worth a visit when you attend ESPO in the Chinese ‘year of the rabbit’, 2023!
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Roots, Rock, Reggae
The two metre statue of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley in the Baltic Triangle, Liverpool is the work
of local sculptor Andy Edwards, widely known for his iconic statue of the ‘Beatles’ (Fab Four) on the
waterfront. The work celebrates Marley and his message of love, peace and emancipation, but it is a
reminder too of the influence that musicians of African- and particularly Caribbean- heritage had on the
emerging popular music scene in Europe in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties. Paul McCartney has always
acknowledged the debt the Beatles owe to early pioneers such as Harold Phillips (1925-2000) who
settled in Liverpool and popularized calypso music in the post-war years. Phillips (nicknamed ‘Lord
Woodbine’) arrived in Britain as an emigre from Trinidad in 1948. Part of the first wave Caribbean
immigrants, he sailed on the celebrated ‘Windrush’ ship, and soon found work as a singer/guitarist and
music promoter in the Liverpool clubs. Here he came in contact with the young Lennon and McCartney
and arranged gigs for them in local venues. Lord Woodbine drove the Beatles to Hamburg in his
Volkswagen mini-bus in 1960 for their first overseas concert, where he played on stage with them as they
were enthusiastically welcomed by a young German following.
Check out some ‘positive vibrations’ in Liverpool at ESPO 2023
In the words of Bob Marley, ‘let’s join together and a-feel alright!’
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Liverpool Medical Institute
The grand bow-fronted portico of the Liverpool Medical Institute recalls the glorious libraries
and seats of learning of ancient Greece. It was designed by local architect Clark Rampling
during a period when the ‘Greek revival’ style was in vogue and opened in 1837 as a library
and meeting place for local physicians and surgeons. This was not well received by the local
population, who not long before had engaged in fearsome rioting (the 1832 Cholera riots),
attacking a hospital and setting upon medical men who were widely thought to be sending
patients to their deaths in the fever wards so that they could use the corpses for dissection!
Much of this ill-feeling was stoked by a notorious local criminal case in 1826. Three casks
were found on Liverpool docks, labelled ‘Bitter Salts’ in readiness for transportation to the
medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland. On inspection, the casks were found to contain eleven corpses, and were traced to a cellar in the city where a further twenty-two corpses, injected and prepared for dissection, were stored. Two ‘body-snatchers’ were convicted, and distrust of medical men grew.
Surgery was particularly fraught, with huge mortality, often due to sepsis. The surgeons- all men- who operated gloveless in their blood-stained overcoats, caked with pus and exudate from the previous patient and prided themselves on their refusal to wash their hands between cases - were slow to adopt the teachings of Semmelweis in Hungary and Lister in Scotland on the need for asepsis.
The site of the Institute, at the end of Hope Street and immediately opposite the workhouse, where impoverished and destitute paupers could see the physicians and surgeons in their frock-coats and silk hats descend from their grand carriages on-route to medical meetings- fueled more resentment.
The Institute now houses a beautifully preserved Victorian lecture theatre (still in use, although the gas lamps have been converted to electric bulbs), a wonderful collection of rare medical books and a variety of surgical instruments dating back to its early days.
Don’t be alarmed, visiting doctors at ESPO 2023 will be warmly welcomed by Liverpudlians!
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A Case History
The art installation on Hope Street by sculptor John King depicts a series of suitcases, hatboxes,
trunks and guitar cases, each inscribed with the name of a famous Liverpudlian. The work evokes
Liverpool’s history as a port, a site of both emigration and immigration. The great liners that
crossed the Atlantic would have ferried thousands of such cases between Liverpool and the ports
on the east side of North America and beyond. The ‘Hope Street Suitcases’ as they are known are
in the heart of the Georgian Quarter, where you can enjoy some of the best restaurants and bars
in the city. The building just behind is where the somewhat unruly pupils John Lennon, Paul
McCartney and George Harrison went to school. A few of the bars they frequented are nearby.
See if you can find their luggage when you visit!
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Canada's Liverpool Children
Liverpool boasts some of the grandest and most spectacular nineteenth century buildings in the UK, but there are many reminders of the appalling poverty, overcrowding and ill-health that was the lot of the Victorian poor. Maternal and infant mortality indices were among the worst in Europe; infectious diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and tuberculosis took their toll on children and young parents. Despite the huge wealth of many of the merchants and ship-owners, destitute orphans roamed the streets, begging for food.
A group of well-to-do philanthropists established the ‘Sheltering Home for Destitute Children’ in the late nineteenth century and appointed Louisa Birt, a Scottish woman who had worked as an activist to support children and widows in London, as superintendent.
Under Louisa Birt’s care, the ‘Sheltering Home’ housed, fed and educated orphaned children, teaching them skills such as carpentry for the boys and laundry work for the girls. They were prepared for emigration to Canada. A sister home in Quebec received over six thousand Liverpool children who were settled with Canadian families or given employment until the practice petered out at the outbreak of the first world war. Many Canadians can trace their ancestry to this time.
The building in Myrtle Street is now used by the University. It is adjacent to the old ‘Children’s Hospital’ which was the early precursor of our modern children’s hospital, opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2014. If you get a ‘senior’ taxi driver when you arrive in Liverpool, he may remember having a tonsillectomy in the old Myrtle Street Children’s Hospital, a pioneering centre for pediatric surgery and anaesthesia.
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The 'Royal Liver' Building
Many of the city’s hotels have terraces with magnificent views across the Mersey estuary.
The ‘Royal Liver’ building here with its two clock towers and the mythical ‘Liver Birds’ on the
spires has graced the waterfront since its construction in 1911 to house offices of the Royal
Liver Assurance Company. At nearly one hundred metres tall, and one of the first buildings
to be made of reinforced concrete it was hailed as a ‘skyscraper’ in the local press at the
The ‘liver birds’ have become recognizable emblems of the city. Legend has it that one is
male - Bertie - and is looking toward the city to see if the bars are open; while one is female
- Bella - and she is looking out on the river to see if she can spot any handsome sailors
coming in to port.
They were crafted in granite by the Bromsgrove Guild, a company very much to the fore in the ‘Arts and Crafts’ movement in design during the early twentieth century. The original design was by Carl Bernard Bartels, a sculptor and wood-carver from Stuttgart. Legend has it that if the birds take flight, the city of Liverpool will disappear.
Don’t fret, they are well anchored, and will be very much in evidence when delegates visit in May 2023.
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Liverpool 'Ropewalks' and the 'Bridewell'
The ancient craft of ropemaking was based in the ‘Ropewalks’ quarter of the city.
The streets are long and narrow, so that the ropemakers could pay out the ropes as
they twisted them and prepared them for the ships. Warehouses on either side of the
streets housed products such as tea, tobacco, and rum that had been loaded from
the nearby docks. Many of the old warehouses have been carefully restored and
re-purposed and are now home to chic craft shops, bistros, and gastro-pubs.
In the nineteenth century the area was notorious for its taverns and houses of ill-repute.
One reminder of that time is the ‘Bridewell’ or prison lock-up, where errant sailors
who had partaken of too much rum were arrested and detained. The ‘Bridewell’ is
now a popular bar serving top quality local craft beers. The windows, for obvious
reasons, are a little small! A plaque inside commemorates the visit of novelist
Charles Dickens, who enrolled as a special constable here to give him a better insight
into the criminal underworld which he depicted so faithfully in his works. Modern day
fare is rather better than the inmates would have had in days gone by, and ESPO
delegates who choose to relax at the Bridwell after a long day at the academic
sessions are assured they can leave of their own free will!
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Saint Luke’s, the ‘Bombed-Out Church’
One of our best recognized landmarks and meeting points is a stark reminder of the
devastation that Liverpool, along with so many European cities, suffered in WW2.
Once a parish church and a magnificent gothic structure famous for its stained-glass
windows, its bell-tower and ornate plaster work, it was destroyed in the ‘May Blitz’ in 1941.
The ruins burned and smouldered for days, leaving only the masonry shell intact.
For many years after the war the roofless remains were left as a memorial to the dead.
The interior became derelict and was soon overgrown with weeds and trees. The site
has been much improved in recent years and has become a centre for arts, culture,
garden parties and celebratory events.
The statue in the garden - ‘All together now’ – is by local sculptor Andy Edwards,
and recalls the famous ‘Christmas Truce’ in WW1 when soldiers on each side of the
trenches suspended fighting to play a game of football.
Now a symbol of hope and renewal, St. Luke’s (www.slboc.com) is a short walk from the waterfront along Bold Street, a lively thoroughfare with some of the city’s finest 19th century shop-front facades.
The garden bar and café are good spots if you need a break from all the academia!
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The Hahnemann Hospital
Situated in the heart of the city’s Georgian Quarter, this spectacular building in Hope Street, with
its airy windows and distinctive tall chimneys, was completed in 1887 and gifted to the people of
Liverpool by the wealthy merchant Sir Henry Tate. Sugar refineries that processed the raw cane
brought to the port from the sugar plantations in the Caribbean were the source of great wealth
for many Liverpool merchants, of whom Tate was the best known.
Originally a hospital dedicated to the principles of homeopathy, for which Sir Henry was a strong
enthusiast, the building was a wonder of its time and, apart from the distinctive heating and
ventilation system, was the first in Britain to have hydraulic elevators.
It was called the Hahnemann Hospital to honour the founder of homeopathy, Christian Hahnemann.
Born in Meissen near Dresden in 1755, Hahnemann studied medicine in Leipzig, Vienna and
Erlangen, and worked for a period in Sibiu, Romania as personal physician to the Governor of
Transylvania, Samuel von-Brukenthal. It was during his time in Romania that Hahnemann
developed his theories of ‘treating like with like’.
The hospital was taken over by the newly established national health service in Britain in 1947 and
continued to serve the people of Liverpool until the nineteen seventies. It is now used as
accommodation for students.
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The Anglican Cathedral
Liverpool’s skyline boasts two magnificent cathedrals - one to serve the Roman Catholic
population and one for the Anglican community.
The Anglican Cathedral is the venue for our ESPO networking event. Seventy years in
construction, it was completed as recently as 1978 and is one of the finest Gothic Revival
buildings in Britain. Amidst the splendid sculptures and the awesome stained-glass windows
in the nave, you will find a red telephone box. This is a reminder that the young architect,
Gilbert Scott, who won a competition to design the Cathedral, also won fame as the designer
of the red telephone boxes that were such a symbol of Britain and were found on every street corner in the days before mobile phones!
Among the many luminaries buried in the nearby cemetery is Catherine (‘Kitty’) Wilkinson, the ‘Saint of the Slums’. Kitty was a widow living in abject poverty during the cholera epidemic of 1832. Understanding - long before many doctors did - the importance of disinfecting bedding, and one of the few who had a boiler in her home, she opened her kitchen to the women of Liverpool so they could have clean bedding, bringing about a dramatic reduction in mortality from cholera. With Dr. Henry Duncan, an early public health doctor, she went on to open public wash-houses where the poor could wash their clothes. Thus Liverpool paved the way for public baths and washing facilities which became commonplace all over Europe. She was presented with a silver teapot by Queen Victoria. Her gravestone reads:
CATHERINE WILKINSON. Died 11 November 1860, aged 73. Indefatigable and self-denying. She was the Widow's friend. The support of the Orphan. The fearless and unwearied nurse of the sick. The originator of Baths and Wash-houses for the poor.
The medical students recently voted to name one of their lecture rooms in her memory.