For two days, Birmingham's NEC became a busy medical and social care hub, filled to bursting with people eager to learn the latest thinking on numerous weighty topics.

Of course, with nearly 200 seminars running over the two days there simply wasn't enough time to go into all of them, and it meant being selective over which to attend - but for the discerning attendee, there was plenty on offer to ensure you made the most of the two days.

I started with Liz Stephens keynote on the future of midwifery, and the notion that midwives are going to have to do more for less. It was an impassioned and considered address which looked at the current challenges the industry faces - but also how they can make a difference as midwives during these difficult times.

A similarly passionate - but altogether different talk was next on the agenda - Deborah Rountree's look at Managing Children with Challenging and Violent Behaviour - A Family Approach.

This presentation turned the idea of domestic abuse on its head, and looked at how families coped when a child is the perpetrator. The family inclusive approach, going by the case studies presented, seemed to have success, and it was an interesting session on a little-discussed subject.

The afternoon was given over to further sessions in the Child Health Programme which looked at Identifying and Managing OCD in Children, Recognising Children with Special Needs and Developing Effective Behaviour Plans for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs).

While all of the talks were of high quality, the one that caught my attention the most was the one by Professor Ricky Richardson on Recognising Children with Special Needs.

Professor Richardson is the senior consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street, and his presentation looked at the thorough diagnostic they'd go through at Great Ormond Street when making a diagnosis if they feel a child has special needs.

But he also looked at the parents' concerns, and how often they may also be placing unrealistic expectations on their children, especially if they come from high-achieving backgrounds. Invariably, the conclusion of each of the case studies resulted in a review after six or 12 months - but this only served to highlight how difficult it can be to identify the reasons behind a child's special needs.

As well as the informative talks, there was also an extensive exhibition - and you could easily lose hours wandering from exhibitor to exhibitor.

Of course, not everything was relevant (although that doesn't stop the browsing) but in terms of covering all of the bases - and this applies to the talks as well - Primary Care 2011 was as exhaustive as you could possibly hope for.

Written by Robert Mair on 27.5.11 Comment on this blog by sending it to: