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Conference, conscience and climate
  1. Sarah C Clarke1,2,
  2. William R Davies1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Education and Research, British Cardiovascular Society, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah C Clarke, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Everard, Cambridge CB23 3RE, UK; sarah.clarke{at}papworth.nhs.uk

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High quality evidence-based education is essential for the provision of the best in patient care. The medical conference has become one of many vehicles for providing such education. Medical conferences come in all sizes and, worldwide, are impossible to count in terms of number and cost both financially and environmentally. Some medical conferences in cardiology and the subspecialities attract a large international delegation (eg, European Society of Cardiology, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and, for subspeciality intervention, Euro-PCR (the official congress of the European Association of Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions) and Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference). Other national conferences in general cardiology and the subspecialities are more modest in size. These are supplemented by smaller, focussed conferences and round table meetings, which may involve a degree of travel. Advances in information technology have introduced video-conferencing, webinars, live streaming, webcasting and podcasting facilitating more ‘office’-based learning reducing the need to travel. For the large international conference questioning whether ‘the show should go on’ and if there are alternatives is not inappropriate in an age of evolving communication technology, austerity and climate change.1 ,2

Carbon footprint

While we are all conscious of the threat of global warming, evidence suggests that all air travel accounts for just 6.3% of carbon dioxide emissions. Travel to international conferences will have a miniscule effect on global warming but it is argued that doctors should lead by example,3 and maybe there is more we can do. Will the argument against the international conference hold up if the educational experience is deemed worth the cost and results in an improvement in patient care?

The added value of the conference

A conference gives cardiologists, academics, allied healthcare professionals and industry professionals the opportunity to learn and network both academically and socially with colleagues nationally and internationally in …

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