The British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH)
The aims of the BSSH are to promote and direct the development of Hand Surgery, to foster and co-ordinate education, study and research in Hand Surgery, and to disseminate knowledge of Hand Surgery among members of the medical and allied health professions.br/>br/>
The second world war, a number of surgeons perceived that the older specialty of orthopaedics and the younger plastic surgery, pushed into prominence by the requirements of burned airmen, had a great deal to offer when jointly applied to surgery of the hand. In 1952, the “Hand Club” was formed by members of both specialties at a meeting in the Atheneum, at the instigation of Patrick Clarkson. Members would meet for dinner on a Friday evening, followed by a clinical meeting on the Saturday morning. In 1956, due to the exclusivity of the Hand Club which would not admit new younger members, the Second Hand Club was formed at a meeting in Derby as a result of “the enthusiasm of Mr Graham Stack” (quoted from Council minutes, 14.12.68).
The Second Hand Club contained mostly younger enthusiastic surgeons from both disciplines and they held regular informal meetings to discuss difficult cases. In the late 1960s, they expanded their title to “British Club for Surgery of the Hand” and in 1968 became the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH), with a formal constitution. The first President was Guy Pulvertaft, the sole member of the original Hand Club to take part in the formation of the new Society. Other former Hand Club members were invited to join, including Rainsford Mowlem, JIP James, and John Barron, who played an important part in promoting the harmony between orthopaedic and plastic surgeons that has been the hallmark of the Society.
Since then, the BSSH has grown to over 800 members, comprising of overseas, honorary, associate, and companion members. It was given charitable status in 1975. A detailed account of the first 30 years of BSSH is to be found in the Journal of Hand Surgery (British and European volume), 1998, vol 23B, pages 711-723, written by Nicholas Barton. From the start, the Society took a close interest in the training of surgeons involved in Hand Surgery, both in terms of running meetings with instructional content, and in trying to establish training opportunities.