Glasgow Hosts BAPO Conference

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Glasgow, Scotland, home of the renowned National Centre for Training & Education in Prosthetics & Orthotics at the University of Strathclyde, hosted the Ninth Annual Conference of the British Association of Prosthetists & Orthotists (BAPO), February 28-March 2.

The conference site, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, which also served as the venue for the Tenth World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) in 2001, is a very modern exhibition center, reminiscent of the great Sydney, Australia, opera house with its armadillo-like roof. Glasgow has been transformed from its gray shipbuilding days into a vibrant, colorful, and cultured city, with a great concert hall, shopping malls, and restaurants. The Scots are hospitable, warm, friendly, and helpful.

This was a conference with a difference: There was a lateral shift away from the standard conference program by including for the first time a technicians' program that ran parallel to the clinical program. (Note: A forum and website for orthotic technicians in the UK is

The contents of the conference programs also promised a more practical approach with less emphasis on research and statistics and more emphasis on day-to-day practicality--a very successful and welcome step. A highlight was a presentation by Marlo Ortiz of Mexico on his socket design (Editor's note: See "A New Concept in Above-Knee Socket Design, The O&P EDGE, November 2002; Quick Find: EDINN1102); however, there were other equally informative presentations.

The clinical program on Friday was dedicated to "Healthcare Records on Trial," presented by Anneliese Day, a practicing barrister from London. This started with an informative and practical approach to what should and should not appear in patient records and moved on to role-playing in a "trial" scenario. The role players were great--almost professional--very funny, and they detailed explicitly how serious note taking and giving evidence in court is. With the litigious society that we live in, this is unfortunately becoming more and more a part of every healthcare professional's repertoire.

On Saturday, the clinical and technical programs ran concurrently. The clinical programs featured orthotics in the morning, followed by prosthetics. Highlights included the keynote presentation by Dr. Naomi Davis, FRCS, on "The Ponseti Method of Clubfoot Management-- Back to the Future," and Martin Matthews' presentation on "A New Concept of Lycra: Dynamic Garments in the Treatment of Scoliosis." The prosthetic session stepped up a gear, opening with an excellent presentation by Marlo Ortiz on "The Evolution of the Ischial Containment Socket." Another highlight was the prosthetic session presentation by Bengt Soderberg, "The Use of Gait Analysis in Prosthetics and Orthotics."

Barbara Wall
Barbara Wall

Sunday was a morning of seminars. Marlo Ortiz gave a practical demonstration on casting using his technique and then a presentation on cast modification. He is a breath of fresh air in the way he approaches problems and finds solutions. It is rare that someone comes along and shows us how to take the blinkers off, to think laterally about principals and individual treatments, not using preconceived ideas.

Following was a presentation on "Empirical Vascular Assessment of the Lower Limb," by Barbara Wall. This was billed as "a simple vascular assessment procedure," which was in reality a re-education in vascular assessment and a very practical approach with demonstrations and techniques.

The social events were entertaining, and the Saturday evening gala, "A Tartan Affair," was well-supported.

This was a great weekend, in a wonderful city with friendly hospitable people. What more could you ask for?

The 2004 BAPO Conference is scheduled for March 5-7 in Birmingham. For more information, visit     

Gary Seaman is a prosthetist, orthotist and consultant with 20 years experience, specializing in prosthetics and socket design. He is based in Cologne, Germany, and can be contacted at

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