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The History of the BSCCP

How the BSCCP got started and the early days

The birth of the BSCCP

In 1972, two young university lecturers, Joe Jordan, Birmingham, and Albert Singer, Oxford, decided to form the British Colposcopy Group. Both had recently completed their MD/PhD theses on subjects relating to the cervix and its pathology.

Both were active clinical gynaecologists and the underlying philosophy of the British Colposcopy Group was to have objectives which were both clinical and academic. Later in 1972 they approached Dr. Archie Crompton, a gynaecologist in Leeds. Archie Crompton had been trained in the art of colposcopy in Germany. The three of them set about organising a clinical meeting to launch the group and this was held at the end of 1972 in Birmingham. It was hosted by Professor Hugh McLaren, Lawson Tait Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Birmingham, who recognised the value of cervical cytology screening from the 1950s. Colposcopy was seen by him as a natural development to the screening process.

About 35 people attended this meeting and a further meeting was organised by Albert Singer at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford in 1973. This meeting was introduced by Professor John Stallworthy who himself had been involved in encouraging the training of the young Australian gynaecologist, Malcolm Coppleson, who was also trained in colposcopy in Germany and had set up a colposcopy clinic at the Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Sydney, Australia in the 1950’s. Albert Singer had worked with Malcolm Coppleson and his co-worker Bevan Reid for 5 years before coming to Oxford in 1970.

After the Oxford meeting it was decided that a meeting should be held every 6 months and at the same time colposcopy courses were started in Birmingham. The demand for colposcopy training was much higher than at first envisaged but this demand reflected that the need for colposcopists to be trained throughout the U.K. Initially the meetings were 1 day in duration, starting on a Friday lunchtime and finishing sometime on Saturday afternoon - an important part of the meeting was always the informal dinner on the Friday night!

A journey back in time by the past presidents

Presented during the 2022 Meeting in Belfast

International outreach

In the autumn of 1972 the International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (IFCPC) was formed in Mar del Plata, Argentina with the aim of promoting the practice of colposcopy worldwide. The Constitution of IFCPC was structured in such a way that only national colposcopy societies were eligible for membership so in 1975 the British Colposcopy Group was renamed BRITISH SOCIETY FOR COLPOSCOPY AND CERVICAL PATHOLOGY (BSCCP). A Constitution was drawn up, an Executive Committee was formed, and the first President, Joe Jordan, served from 1975-78. He was followed by Albert Singer (1978-81) and subsequent Presidents were Frank Sharp, then Senior Lecturer in Glasgow, Ian Duncan, Senior Lecturer in Dundee, and Malcolm Anderson, the first President to be a histopathologist, from London.

At the 1978 meeting of IFCPC in Disney World, Florida, Joe Jordan was elected President of IFCPC and BSCCP was asked to hold the World Congress in 1981. The meeting was held in London and was opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne. Our friends from abroad who attended the meeting still tend to refer to that meeting as "The Princess Anne Meeting." One of the highlights of that meeting was a banquet for about 400 people in the Crypt of the Guildhall in the City of London.

As a result of the 1981 IFCPC meeting BSCCP was firmly established as one of the leading societies for colposcopy and cervical pathology in the world.

Over the last 30 years BSCCP has grown to an extent that we now have a membership of 2,400. It is undoubtedly one of the most influential societies in world colposcopy. Its members sit on the Executive of IFCPC and the European Federation for Colposcopy (EFC.)

The BSCCP was largely instrumental in encouraging the birth and development of EFC. EFC was formed in 1999 and its founder President was Joe Jordan (1999-2004.) BSCCP has also been instrumental in providing guidelines to the British Government with regard to the diagnosis and management of cervical premalignancy and has played a major role in the development of the National Health Service Cervical Cancer Screening Programme (NHSCSP). BSCCP has a permanent secretariat led by Sharon Parisi alongside Elaine Radford in Birmingham.