As we near the end of 2020 and the end of my term of SSG President we look forward to the new year with a sense of anticipation and hope that new developments in treatment, and hopefully vaccination against COVID-19, will enable us to resume much of our clinical activities. I am sure, like me, you will reflect that it is unlikely that our clinical practice will return to exactly the same as it was before the COVID-19 viral pandemic took hold.

I am pleased to say that the SSG has thrived over the past 12 months and whilst due to unavoidable circumstances we had to postpone our summer meeting and our endoscopy EQIP meeting I am delighted that you will all be able to join us for the winter meeting later this week, to be held in webinar format.  Once again we have a fantastic programme for the main meeting, trainees meeting and nurses meeting, and I do hope that you will be able to join your fellow registrants and myself for what I think will be an educational and interactive forum.  Whilst we will all miss the opportunity to gather ,socialise, meet and exchange experiences and ideas with colleagues, I am hopeful that in 2021 the SSG meetings will resume in their previous format and we can meet once again in person.  

Can I remind you that registration for the winter meeting must be completed by 2nd December as thereafter, due to unprecedented demand, the registration will close.  I would encourage you to join us and participate in the online forums. 
Our trainees continue to contribute significantly to the success of SSG and this year has been no exception with the trainee taster day oversubscribed, and evidence that prior attendees at the taster day have been successful in recruitment to speciality training in Gastroenterology.  Digest This! goes from strength to strength and each new addition of this educational platform is widely viewed via our own website and that of the BSG.  

In 2020 we have continued to develop links with specialist nurses groups within Scotland and this has culminated in the Scottish liver nurse group delivering a half day educational meeting as part of the SSG winter programme.  The council are exploring ways to make membership for specialist nurses, and those working in Gastroenterology units around Scotland, more readily available, perhaps through individual unit membership. 

SSG council and members of SSG have continued to contribute widely to Scottish government access and collaborative pathways in the hope of improving access and quality of care delivered to patients with GI and liver diseases throughout Scotland. We continue to strive to ensure these are delivered in a timely way, particularly during the COVID pandemic.  The innovative pathways developed by SSG members and implemented locally out of necessity will undoubtedly become the cornerstone of clinical practice for the future.  

As I end the period of my presidency and hand over at the winter meeting to Professor Peter Hayes, the Society remains in rude health with expanding membership, strong financial foundations and with the fantastic efforts of Stephanie, our permanent administrator at RCPE, and input from Claire and Lorraine at Amethyst, our meeting organisers, I am sure you will agree the Society has evolved into a professional body of which we should all be justifiably proud. 

I am sorry that we will not be meeting in Dunblane but I wish you all the best for the forthcoming meeting, 2021 and beyond. 

Best wishes

John Morris