The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland
The Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland was founded in 1920 by a group of leading surgeons of the day. The guiding spirit and inspiration behind the concept was Berkeley Moynihan, later Lord Moynihan of Leeds, who had been struck by the lack of cohesion among surgeons as early as 1909.
He wrote that "surgeons in one town knew little or nothing of surgeons elsewhere. A surgeon from Manchester had never visited an operation theatre in Leeds, nor had ever been asked in consultation. As a consequence it was not infrequent to have to listen to disparagement of one surgeon by another; and jealousies, openly expressed, were too often heard." The founding objectives of the Association, therefore, were twofold - the advancement of the science and art of surgery and the promoting of friendship amongst surgeons.
The first meeting was held in London under the presidency of Sir John Bland-Sutton, the second in Edinburgh and the third in Leeds under the presidency of Moynihan himself. Since then meetings have been held in many other centres in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the majority of venues on several occasions. In recent years there have been additional autumn meetings held overseas and successful visits have been made to many countries around the world.
Initially, the Fellowship was limited to two hundred and fifty consultants. Women were first admitted in 1936 and in 1953 an Associate Fellowship was introduced for a limited number of trainee surgeons. In 1970, fifty years after its foundation, the Fellowship was opened to all Consultant Surgeons and more recently, through links with the Association of Surgeons in Training, all Specialist Registrars have been eligible for Affiliate Fellowship.
In 1992 the title of Associate Fellowship was introduced for Staff Grade Surgeons.
The Association is the specialty association for general surgery and is recognised as such by government as well as by the profession.
In 1998, the Association was incorporated as a Limited Company without share capital.