the European Society of
20 - 23 May 2023
ESPO 2023, LIVERPOOL
May Welcome Message
Liverpool is buzzing! May is a very special month. As soon as King Charles is crowned, the city hosts the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of our friends in Ukraine and then some 1000 pediatric ORLs will throng the waterside conference centre and the dockside bars and restaurants for ESPO 2023. We hope the sun will shine and we plan a super programme for you, both academic and social. If you have registered we will be writing to you about some last-minute tips and advice on some fun elements to help you enjoy the congress; if you haven’t registered there is still time - click here.
Check out the many local attractions - https://www.visitliverpool.com - before you come. Whether it is football, the Beatles, art galleries, the magnificent Victorian architecture or the celebrated ‘Liverpool One’ shopping centre, there is something for everyone.
See you in Liverpool very soon!
Ray and Su
One month to go!
ESPO 2023 is nearly upon us! When the Eurovision Song Contest departs, the Pediatric ENTs move in. Hopefully you have booked your hotel and registered for what will be a fabulous get-together on the Liverpool waterfront. Check out the academic programme, there is surely plenty there to whet your appetite if you are still undecided about coming. Science meets clinical medicine and surgery - we have the top Pediatric ORLs from all over the globe on the programme and plenty of debates/instruction sessions/seminars on both the common and the esoteric presentations that challenge pediatric and general ORLs alike.
When the light goes down, enjoy the dockside bars, restaurants and nightspots, make new friends and renew old friendships. Liverpool will be rocking in May, don’t miss it!
The countdown has begun!
April has arrived and ESPO Liverpool is now a few weeks away. We can’t wait to greet friends and colleagues from across the globe following a very trying few years. We promise you a really special get-together.
The academic programme truly has something for everybody. We have assembled the very best speakers and presenters from the world of Ped ORL to share their wisdom, debate controversies, discuss, instruct and hear your views on all of the ‘hot topics’ in our subspecialty. We truly are global, and to support Europe’s top specialists we have speakers from the USA, Australia, South America, Asia and Africa with delegates from every part of the world.
Some highlights for us are the keynote lectures, where science meets clinical practice. We showcase how the pediatric ORL community worldwide works together for our patients and for each other. ‘Better together’ is the theme; we have contributions from patients, parents and colleagues from a host of other specialties to illustrate just how far we have come. Pediatric ORL truly will ‘come of age’ in Liverpool.
Simulation sessions, a focus on innovation and education, physician welfare, new thinking in auditory implantation and a series of session on Rhinology and Skull Base Surgery which recognizes the enormous strides ORL has made in this area in recent years all feature.
As well as the academia, we are hugely proud of our city and hope you can take some time to enjoy it. Liverpool has some of Britain’s best-preserved Victorian buildings, a rich heritage in classical and popular music, and a magnificent waterfront with many remnants of the glory days when it was the gateway for immigrants from all over Europe and beyond who left their mark on a now vibrant cosmopolitan city.
Register now, www.espo2023.org check the programme, book your hotel, plan your visit and enjoy a warm Liverpool welcome in May.
Let’s get together
The academic programme is complete, and the countdown has begun for what will be a very long-awaited ESPO get-together in Liverpool.
We are delighted to share some highlights with you. Breakfast sessions with ‘old hands’ include ESPO past-presidents being grilled by our Young ESPO colleagues on ‘What I should have done better’. Expect robust exchanges in the ‘fight-talks’ and debate sessions on such topics as who needs DISE for OSA, what’s so bad about OSA anyway, should we ban ‘cold steel’ tonsillectomy, do we need ventilation tubes for OME, how do we choose the best auditory implant, and do children ever really benefit from FESS?
Keynote speakers include two of Britain’s foremost clinician scientists. Prof Sir Stephen O’ Rahilly has pioneered radical new genetic treatments for obesity in children. Sir Stephen has lessons for us all in how we get ideas from the laboratory bench to transform how we can better look after children and families in our clinics and operating rooms.
Prof Sir Andrew Pollard has been to the fore in the discovery, design, and development of a range of vaccines. His ground-breaking studies on Covid-19 led to the distribution of over three billion doses of the like-saving Astra Zeneca vaccine, transforming outcomes globally and bringing about huge reductions in morbidity and mortality as the pandemic came to an end. Sir Andrew will tell us of some exciting new work in the field of HPV infection, of great interest to the ORL community.
Prof Hannah Burns has been a leading figure in establishing links between ORL specialists world-wide, especially during the pandemic when face-to-face meetings between colleagues were difficult and travel became almost impossible. Hannah will talk about her ‘Whats-App’ group, now perhaps the most powerful and influential way in which specialists exchange information. Hannah has made those of us who work in paediatric ORL into a truly global community, a force for advocacy and change in children’s services and a model of good practice for other specialties. The world truly has become smaller due to modern techniques of communication and information sharing, and Hannah will explore how this revolution will play out in the years to come.
Global health features prominently in the programme. If the world has shrunk, it hasn’t always become fairer or more equal. We can no longer shy away from issues such as unfairness in resource allocation, disparities in health care for children across national and cultural boundaries, the effects of poverty and deprivation on health outcomes, and the increasingly unhappy realisation that hospitals – and we health-care professionals- contribute more than our fair share to the destruction of the planet. How we promote equity, sustainability and the ‘green agenda’ alongside the technological developments that drive improvements in our specialty is very much up for debate. Expect some frank and not always comfortable exchanges of views.
We need to celebrate our entrepreneurs in ORL. Many will showcase their exciting ideas in a new ‘Innovation and Education’ stream running in parallel with the clinical sessions. Expect fresh perspectives on digital health, robotic surgery, artificial intelligence, ‘big data’, and genomics.
Europe was rocked by the invasion of Ukraine this time last year. Thousands of children, their families and their doctors were suddenly displaced and left homeless. How Ukrainian ORL doctors and their friends and colleagues in neighbouring countries responded to provide continuing medical care is a truly inspirational story. Prof Jarek Szydlowski (Poland) and Dr. Maryana Cherkes (Ukraine) will share their first-hand experiences of how they helped children and their carers to cope with the huge challenges the war presented.
Public expectation of doctors is rightly changing. We need to become more aware of how our patients view us. We have invited some children and their parents to share their ideas and to tell us how best we can look after them.
Expert workshops on every aspect of Ped ORL, up-to-the minute presentations from some four hundred guest speakers with another four hundred short papers, ‘how we do it’ videos, a ‘world cup’ event for ORL doctors-in-training, quizzes, a ‘fun-run’ and some super networking events will ensure nobody goes home disappointed.
There will be a state-of-the-art Simulation centre, a lively social programme (expect some musical entertainment in the birthplace of the Beatles), a lot of focus on how best we look after ourselves, each other, and the families we care for, all in keeping all with the ‘Better together’ theme of the conference.
Pack your sandals. Liverpool is a ‘walking’ city with multiple attractions within a few kilometres of the waterside convention centre.
A warm welcome awaits you in May!
Ray Clarke Sujata De
On behalf of the Programme Committee for ESPO Liverpool 2023
Spring is here and Liverpool is getting ready
Springtime is upon us. As winter gloom lifts, our thoughts turn to warmer days ahead.
We have had a fantastic response to the call for abstracts, with some 500 submissions from all over Europe and beyond. The Programme Committee now has the task of going through them all and selecting some for presentation in the main academic sessions, the poster forum, and the ‘short paper’ sessions.
The Simulation team is working hard getting state-of-the-art stations together so delegates can practice their skills on airway endoscopy, implantation otology, and a variety of procedures essential to us all as pediatric ORL specialists.
The academic programme is more or less complete. Check the programme page for highlights, to include ‘fight talks’ where experts go head to head on controversial topics, breakfast sessions where senior clinicians share their insights with the young, and ‘innovation’ sessions where the creative talents of entrepreneurs and innovators in young ESPO will be on display. There will be videos aplenty, panel discussions and debates on controversial topics, ‘how I do it’ sessions, and an opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from all over Europe and beyond. The line-up is truly international, with speakers from some 35 countries.
We haven’t always been as good at looking after ourselves as well as we look after our patients and physician well-being is very much a part of the programme, with some super speakers who have expertise and wisdom to share with us all on this topic.
With keynote lectures and eight parallel streams per day covering the whole of our subspecialty, delegates will be truly spoiled for choice.
The ACC (Arena and Conference Centre) awaits the media frenzy of the European Song Contest the weekend before ESPO meets and the city is really buzzing with anticipation. All eyes will be on the Liverpool waterfront in May. Register early and book your hotel and your study leave.
Our team can’t wait to welcome you!
Ray Clarke & Sujata De
On behalf of the Programme Committee for ESPO Liverpool 2023
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!
A Message from the President of BAPO:
As President of the British Association for Paediatric Otolaryngology (BAPO) I am delighted that ESPO’s biennial congress is being held in the UK this year. The organising committee have worked tirelessly to provide a fantastic educational programme. The theme of ‘better together’ highlighting collaboration between scientists, clinicians and families is at the very core of delivering high quality paediatric ENT care.
The meeting will be more interactive than ever before and for the first time there will be particular focus on the latest in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence guiding the way we treat children. Alongside keynote talks from distinguished speakers from around the world, there will be access throughout the meeting to guided simulation sessions which will provide invaluable learning opportunities to both trainees and established practitioners.
I am particularly pleased that Young ESPO will have their own section, reflecting the inclusivity now shown by specialist societies (BAPO juniors is in its inaugural year). Please book your leave now to be part of this very special event.
Great Ormond Street, London
A Message from the President of BGSPO and President Elect of ERS
As President of the Bulgarian Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology and President elect of the European Rhinologic Society, I would highly recommend delegates to attend the ESPO 2023 Congress in Liverpool as it is unique opportunity to network with leading experts and peers in the field of Pediatric ENT from all around the world.
The Congress will provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices in the field of Pediatric ENT, and delegates will be able to attend a variety of sessions, workshops, and symposia to enhance their knowledge and skills.
Liverpool is a vibrant city with a rich history and cultural heritage, making it an ideal location for the Congress. The Congress promises to be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for all those who attend, and will provide valuable insights into the latest advancements and innovations in Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology.
Overall, attending ESPO 2023 Congress in Liverpool is an excellent opportunity for delegates to learn, network, and enjoy everything this iconic city has to offer.
Prof. Dr. Dilyana Vicheva
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.
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Royal Albert Dock
The Conference Centre where the ESPO congress will take place is situated on the Mersey
waterfront. Delegates will enjoy strolling among the old warehouses, store-rooms and offices
which once served one of the largest shipping ports in Europe. The buildings have been
beautifully preserved and restored, and many are now home to chic restaurants, bars, galleries
One of the great monuments of 19th century engineering, the ‘Royal Albert’ dock was the
creation of celebrated architect Jesse Hartley. It was opened in 1846 by Queen Victoria’s
husband Prince Albert. A spectacular collection of buildings, colonnades and walkways houses
the Liverpool Tate gallery. Art-lovers will enjoy the permanent exhibition but especially the focus on the seascapes of the celebrated English Romantic artist William Turner (1775-1851) in a special display that runs throughout the week of the congress.
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‘United by music. Together in Ped ORL’
The city of Liverpool - with its rich heritage in popular music - is proud to host the 2023 Eurovision
Song Contest on behalf of last year’s winners Ukraine. The event will celebrate the power of
music to bring people together across national and political boundaries. This year’s celebrations
will showcase the culture and traditions of our friends in Ukraine as we show our support for them
in the awful circumstances they now face. Expect plenty music and dance, bling, joy, colour,
spectacle and flamboyant costumes!
Our long history as a port city with maritime links to Europe and beyond, and a population of
diverse national and ethnic heritage makes Liverpool the perfect forum to celebrate European
togetherness. The theme of the event - ‘United by music’ - chimes well with our ESPO theme -
‘Science, clinicians and families - better together’.
When the television crews move out of the waterside arena (the ACC - Arena and Conference Centre), ESPO planners move in and prepare for what promises to be a fabulous ESPO congress. The costumes and dance-moves of the world’s leading pediatric ORL specialists may not be quite as outrageous as those of the musicians and their backing groups, but the friendship, camaraderie and sense of togetherness in the pediatric ORL community will be much in evidence.
Liverpool will still be rocking in late May!
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The 'Three Graces'
The ‘Pier Head’ on Liverpool’s waterfront was the bustling heart of the sea-faring city in the
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Here trams, buses, trains and horse-drawn carriages
converged on the site from which the great central liners set sail, carrying passengers to the
‘New World’ via ports in New York, Boston, Canada, Buenos Aires and beyond. For many, the
grand buildings on the Liverpool docks were their last sightings of Europe as they sailed to new
lives. Fittingly, the Pier Head buildings are each of particular architectural and aesthetic merit and
are to this day known as the ‘three graces’. They are the Royal Liver building, the Cunard building
and the offices of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.
The best views of the trio can still be seen from the river if you take a ferry across the Mersey, and a magnificent sight they are especially in the evenings as the light fades and the sun goes down. They stand today as symbols of the maritime city when it was at its peak. The area around the ‘three graces’ is still the beating heart of the waterfront.
The Pier Head is a short walk from the Conference Centre. It is free of traffic and on summer afternoons hosts walkers, families, buskers, festivals and live music. Make time to amble along after all the academia!
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Museum of Liverpool and the ‘docker’s umbrella’
Such was the bustle and traffic on Liverpool’s waterfront toward the end of the nineteenth
century that the city planners came up with an innovative scheme to move people and cargo
from one part of the docklands to another- the ‘Liverpool Overhead Railway’. The tracks
were anchored by steel columns and ran five metres above ground for some twelve
kilometres, easing congestion at street level. In addition to facilitating rapid movement of
goods the LOHR provided shelter from the worst of the British weather, and soon became
known as the ‘docker’s umbrella’.
This was the first overhead electric rail system in the world, and such were the fabulous
views across the river from the carriages that it soon became a tourist attraction and a
popular sightseeing trip for families. Passengers could view the docks, transatlantic liners
and cruise ships as they moored along the riverside.
The tracks fell into disrepair and sadly very little of the railway survives, but you can visit one of the carriages at the Museum of Liverpool, a short stroll from the Convention Centre.
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Lime Street Station
The train station will be the first sighting of the city for many delegates. Railway enthusiasts
will enjoy marveling at the huge arched roof, supported by Doric columns and intricate iron
cross-beams dating from an 1867 extension to the original building. Opened in 1836 when
it was a wooden shed, Lime Street is now the oldest still-operating railway terminal in the
As you pass through the concourse, look out for the iconic statue ‘A chance meeting’ by
local sculptor Tom Murphy. It depicts, in bronze, two popular characters from the history of
Elizabeth (‘Bessie’) Braddock (1899-1970) was a formidable politician and activist who
worked tirelessly to improve the health and working conditions of the city’s poor. She was
known as ‘Battling Bessie’ due to her combative but highly effective debating skills in the local council and in parliament.
Ken Dodd (‘Doddy’, 1927-2018) was a Liverpool comedian who achieved national fame and was especially popular with children who loved his colourful collection of ‘tickling sticks’. He came to prominence in the music halls of the 1950’s and his live shows invariably overran, often well past midnight when the buses had stopped, making him a hero with the city’s taxi-drivers who still speak of him with reverence!
Ken Dodd’s statue includes his most famous prop, a large ‘tickling stick’. ‘Battling Bessie’ carries her handbag, which she is said to have wielded menacingly to strike terror into her political opponents.
Look out too for Tom Murphy’s bronze statue of John Lennon as you arrive in Liverpool Airport.
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Myrtle Street Hospitals
A walk from the Metropolitan (Roman Catholic) Cathedral along Myrtle Street illuminates much of the
early history of medicine in the city of Liverpool. The cathedral itself was built on the site of the workhouse
(1772) and the old Brownlow Hill Infirmary, which housed up to five thousand of the destitute poor.
Deaths from cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, smallpox and typhoid were the norm.
Hospitals in Myrtle Street included the ‘Lying-In’ hospital for women, where great strides were made to
improve maternal mortality from the 1850s onwards. An early cancer hospital (1852) became the
Liverpool Radium Institute where pioneering treatments using the new technology were in use during
the early twentieth century. The Liverpool Infirmary for Children moved to Myrtle Street in 1866 and was
the fore-runner of the current children’s hospital. Two orphanages, one for boys and one for girls housed
over three hundred of the city’s abandoned children.
Although no longer in use as hospitals, many of the buildings can still be seen. One of the best-preserved
is the Eye and Ear Infirmary. Built in 1879, the red-brick and sandstone façade is still striking. It became
the new home of the Liverpool Ear Institute, which had opened in 1841 and was one of the earliest
hospitals where chloroform was used to facilitate surgery. Otitis media was then a fearsome disease, often resulting in fatal intracranial sepsis, and drainage of mastoid abscesses was one of the first procedures performed in Myrtle Street. The Eye and Ear Infirmary closed in 1978.
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The Pump House
Built in 1878 to power the busy movement of goods along the dockside warehouses, the Pump
House was a hydraulic station where water at high pressure was fed through pipes to power
the cranes and hoists that moved cargo- tobacco, grain, rum, and sugar- from the ships to the
the waterside warehouses. The cast iron wall cranes can still be seen on the walls of the
warehouses, many of which have been restored and are now luxury apartments, chic shops
and galleries. The original red-bricked tower which housed a steam engine is beautifully
preserved. Rescued from decline in the last few decades and part of the regeneration of the
Liverpool dock area, the Pump House is now a cosy bar and restaurant in the shadow of the
imposing Anglican Cathedral. A short walk from the Conference Centre, thirsty ESPO
delegates may wish to refresh themselves by the quayside and enjoy the visiting ships.
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Liverpool and the Irish Famine
Few historical events have shaped the city of Liverpool as much as did the Irish Famine
(1845-1852). Up to two hundred thousand destitute men, women and children fled hunger
and starvation in Ireland in each of the years mainly from 1847 to 1852. They poured into
the city seeking food, medical help and in the case of the more able-bodied, work, mainly
on the docks for the men and in domestic service for the women.
Immigrants lived in conditions of appalling poverty. Mortality rates from infectious diseases
including cholera, typhus and dysentery were among the worst in Europe. The Liverpool
Workhouse - now the site of the Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral - was home to thousands.
Paupers died on the streets and were buried in mass graves around the city.
A walking ‘Famine Trail’ now commemorates the events of 1847 onwards. Several blue
plaques mark the site of feeding stations, the workhouse, orphanages, and burial grounds.
The imposing ‘Famine Memorial’ in the gardens of St Luke’s Church in Berry Street is
made up of a granite stone and a feeding bowl.
The descendants of these first Irish settlers have left their imprint on the modern city. Among the immigrants were James Lennon and James McCartney, whose great grandsons John and Paul were to become two of Liverpool’s most illustrious sons. The traditional Liverpool cuisine- ‘Scouse’- is a form of Irish stew made of mutton, carrots and potatoes, and Liverpudlians are proud to be known as ‘Scousers’.