Objectives of the association

Including Honorary Fellows and Past Presidents


To promote the highest standard of management and care for patients suffering from cardiothoracic disorders, and in particular those undergoing cardiac or thoracic surgery.

To further the development of the art and science of cardiothoracic anaesthesia. To that end the ACTACC is committed to:

  • hold regular meetings
  • encourage the presentation of original research
  • encourage national and international links with like-minded groups
  • be active in all matters concerning the training of future cardiothoracic anaesthetists
  • represent the views of cardiothoracic anaesthetists to any other interested parties



Honorary Fellows and Past Presidents

Honorary Fellows

Dr Charles Gillbe
Dr John Gothard
Dr Judith Hulf
Dr John Manners
Dr John Kneeshaw
Dr John Simpson
Dr Jean-Pierre van Besouw
Dr Ann Triscott
Dr Ray Latimer
Dr Rob Feneck

Past Presidents

Dr Nick Fletcher (2015- present)
Dr Noel Gavin (2013- 2015)
Dr Ravi Gill (2012-2013)
Dr Donna Greenhalgh (2011-2012)
Dr Jon Mackay (2010 -2011)
Dr Peter Alston (2009 -2010)
Dr JP van Besouw (2007 – 2009)
Dr Sean Bennett (2006 – 2007)
Dr Fiona Gibson (2005 – 2006)
Dr John Gothard (2001 - 2005)
Dr John Kneeshaw (1999 – 2001)
Dr David Whittaker (1996 – 1999)
Dr Rob Feneck (1993 – 1996)
Dr Russ Powell (1990-1993)
Dr Ray Latimer (1984 – 1990)


History of ACTACC

The first meeting of the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetists took place on 25th May 1984 in Cambridge at the instigation of Ray Latimer. He was supported by his colleagues Don Bethune and Ian Hardy, all of whom were based at Papworth Hospital. It was an entirely informal meeting of United Kingdom anaesthetists practising cardiac or thoracic anaesthesia and took place at the Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, New Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Proceedings commenced at 10.30 a.m., perhaps the normal time for Cambridge academia, with the first of six papers presented by trainee registrars. During the afternoon session we heard presentations on prostacyclins in the treatment of pulmonary hypertension (Don Bethune), haemofiltration and haemodialysis during cardiopulmonary bypass (Ian Hardy), and ventilation for thoracotomy (John Gothard). A stop-gap lecture was given by one attendee who happened to have some slides in the back of his car.

A special feature of the Inaugural Meeting was a sherry reception followed by Dinner in the Upper Hall of Jesus College.

The occasion was such a success that it was resolved that the annual Spring meeting of the new Association should always take place in Cambridge, while an Autumn meeting would be arranged elsewhere within the United Kingdom. The Cambridge meeting has continued in its original format of registrar papers, invited speakers and Dinner at one of the splendid colleges, for the last fourteen years. The autumn meetings have ranged throughout England, with excursions into Scotland and Wales.

Cambridge has become the natural base for ACTA because of the first meeting arranged by the Papworth cardiothoracic anaesthetic group and their efficient and experienced organisation of the annual Spring event. However Cambridge has historical associations with the heart and circulation, not the least in the fact that William Harvey (1578-1657) was educated in part at Caius. He also studied at Padua, where Caius himself had studied before founding the Cambridge college in 1577. Padua was the centre of medical learning at that time, where Vesalius wrote his seven books on the study of the human body and where he showed that there were no pores in the ventricular septum. Later, Fabricus, Harvey's teacher in Padua, described the valves of veins as "the little doors of the veins". Harvey must have been quite confident then, in his first lecture at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1616, when he said "the movement of the blood is constantly in a circle and is brought about by the beat of the heart".

In this century, Starling gave his Linacre lecture (1915) on the Laws of the Heart in Cambridge, while Linacre himself had studied at Padua (and the other place, not Cambridge).

A previous Latimer (Hugh), though no relation (we think), was one of those of whom Macaulay, essayist and historian (1800-1859) wrote "Cambridge had the honour of educating those famous Protestant Bishops, who Oxford had the honour of burning". Bishop Latimer, at his execution by burning in 1555 declared to his fellow victim "be of good cheer Master Ridley. We shall this day light such a candle, by God's Grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out".

Ray Latimer, without the same sacrifice, no doubt felt that he was lighting the ACTA candle in 1984, with a similar hope for the future.

(Manners, Southampton) 1999