Meeting Information

Next Meeting



Yardley Baptist Church, Rowlands Road, South Yardley, B26 1AT
The church is just off the A45 Coventry Road and there is free parking available




Please email Janet Prentice, BTF Local Coordinator to reserve your place.

Future Meetings


Past Meetings

October 2016

Mr Neil Sharma presented a new research proposal called 'STRATIFY' that looks to compare the current gold standard ‘Dynamic Risk Stratification’ at six to nine months post radioiodine ablation with potential replacement processes, ‘Hybrid Risk Stratification’ and ‘Unstimulated Risk Stratification’ at the point of radioiodine ablation in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer .


March 2016

Guest Speakers were:

Professor Hisham Mehanna
Chair of Head and Neck Surgery, School of Cancer Sciences.
Director, Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education, University of Birmingham

Dr Kate Reid BSc(hons) PhD
Head of Speech and Language Therapy
Therapy - University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust


November 2015

November meeting, whilst attendance was low the presentation and Q&A's were well received. Dr Moran kindly stayed afterwards to answer personal questions.


September 2015

Kristien BoelaertOn behalf of the British Thyroid Foundation and Get A Head CT I’d like to offer thanks to guest speaker Dr Kristien Boelaert (Reader in Endocrinology, Consultant Endocrinologist University of Birmingham and GAH Trustee). Dr Boelaert presented a talk on ‘Hyperthyroidism and Graves' Disease’. The presentation covered a wide range of topics: thyroid function, the different types of over-active thyroid diseases, their differences, other autoimmune disorders and co-morbidities most likely to already exist or develop. Dr Boelaert described the risks of treatment associated with pregnancy which included both fathers and mothers. After the presentation Dr Boelaert stayed to answer questions and have a chat with members of the audience. 


April 2015

Huw GriffithsOn behalf of the British Thyroid Foundation and Get A Head CT I’d like to offer thanks to guest speaker Mr Huw Griffiths (Consultant ENT Head and Neck Surgeon at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, Honorary Consultant at University Hospital Birmingham, Clinical Director and GAH Trustee). He provided a very interesting presentation on ‘Thyroid Surgery’. We learnt about the history of thyroid surgery demonstrating the vast on-going improvements. Mr Griffiths provided information on the different thyroid conditions that require surgery for diagnosis and treatment. With the benefits of surgery explained he also highlighted the possible short- and long-term side effects of surgery. His presentation generated many questions from the audience which he was happy to answer.

November 2014

Dr Vicki Smith (Research Fellow, School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine College 

of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham) spoke on thyroid cancer research and Mr Matt Edmunds (Clinical Lecturer in Ophthalmology, School of Immunity and Infection, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham) spoke on thyroid eye disease research'. This was followed by a Question and Answer Session.

Patient representative and Birmingham group volunteer, Fiona Edge, gave a very brave and heartfelt presentation of her experience living with the ongoing symptoms and treatment of Thyroid Eye Disease. I'd like to offer my thanks to all the speakers for their time and expertise.

February 2014

With no medical guest speakers, the recent Birmingham meeting was informal and well attended. Myself and three other volunteers shared our experiences living with a thyroid disorder. The range of disorders were, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Thyroid Cancer and Thyroid Eye Disease (Graves). With recognition of shared symptoms there was a sense of not feeling isolated or abnormal. Listening to how we have managed and overcome the lows and sharing the success' has provided encouragement to others.

November 2013

I would like to offer a big thank you to Professor John Watkinson. The positive feedback received on the day acknowledged the breadth of his expertise. With 20+ people in attendance  the meeting was a great success. Professor John Watkinson spent more than an hour answering questions covering thyroid disease, diagnostic and treatment procedures. Afterwards he stayed and joined us for refreshments and a chat.

February 2013

Dr Asad Rahim - Consultant Physician/Endocrinologist, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital gallantly stepped in at the last minute as guest speaker at our February meeting. He provided a very interesting and informative talk about the importance of Vitamin D followed by a Question & Answer session. Everyone was sold on the benefits of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D, including my husband who has started taking Vitamin D supplements since the talk.

September 2012

Rachel Georgiou Programme Manager, Self-Managed Services, Health Exchange took the place of Jazz Janagle who sent his apologies. Rachel talked about the services available at Health Exchange and invited people to register with them for a place on a ‘Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme (CDSMP)’ course (Only for people registered with a Birmingham GP). The course involves attending weekly meetings over a six week period, 2.5 hours per day

Jane Smith (Medicine) Thyroid Nurse, Endocrinology Queen Elizabeth Hospital Jane talked about some of the difficulties patients with a thyroid disorder experience with weight gain. It is acknowledged that it is more difficult for those with a thyroid disorder to lose unwanted weight, there is no easy option. A lifestyle change may be necessary to introduce healthy eating and exercise, ask your health care provider for help and advice. The CDSMP may help to address some of these issues.

June 2012

Dr Kristien Boelaert MRC Clinician Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology, Consultant Endocrinlogist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, gave us another fantastic presentation, on this occasion,about 'Underactive Thyroid - The diagnosis and management of primary hypothyroidism.' Dr Boelaert has kindly agreed to make her presentation available upon request via

May 2012

The Coventry and the Birmingham groups had a table at the very successful Family Fun Day that was held at Foleshill Library on Saturday 19 May.  There was a lot of interest in BTF and it was a great chance to raise our profile and let people know about the two local support groups and the work we do.

April 2012

The BTF and the Get A Head Charitable Trust invited people to meet other people with thyroid disorders. This was in response to feedback from previous meeting requesting an opportunity to be able to spend more time chatting, sharing experiences and helping each other. Attendees also had the opportunity to pick up some free informatiom leaflets and find out more about the charities.

November 2011

At our November meeting our speakers included:

Andy Turner PhD, a Senior Research Fellow of Applied Research Centre in Health & Lifestyle Interventions Faculty of Health & Life Sciences at Coventry University.  He introduced us to HOPE: A health and lifestyle coaching programme.

Dr Penny M Clark, Consultant Clinical Scientist, University (Queen Elizabeth) Hospital Birmingham, guided us through the ty

Dr Neil Gittoes, a Divisional Director, Div 3 and Consultant Endocrinologist Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham presented an overview of the overactive thyroid.

The meeting was well attended and very informative.  We appreciate Dr Turner, Dr Clark and Dr Gittoes taking time out of their busy schedules to speak with patients.

July 2011

Our numbers may have been small due to competing with the fine weather, Wimbledon and the many carnivals held in and around Birmingham on the day of the meeting; however, the presentations and the information provided reached those who needed it. I would like to thank Dr Shiao Chan and Donna for giving their time to be at the meeting and providing excellent presentations.

Dr Shiao Chan, Honorary Consultant Obstetrician and Clinical Lead for Endocrine Antenatal Clinic, Birmingham Women's Hospital, presented information on the importance of being aware of the implications of thyroid conditions before, during and after pregnancy for both mother and baby.  It is a very important message; I would therefore strongly recommend you take the opportunity to see her at the Milton Keynes meeting on the 3rd December 2011. This does not only affect women planning pregnancy but also those who already have children and their children.

Donna Reed, BTF Project Facilitator, gave a wonderful insight into the history of the BTF, the dedication and hard work provided by the staff and many volunteers who give information and support to many people.

April 2011

Dr Andrew Bates, Consultant Physician Endocrinologist, Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust spoke about under-active thyroid (Hypothyroidism).

November 2010

Dr Asad Rahim, Consultant Physician at Heartlands Hospital Birmingham, explained the physiology of a normal thyroid function.

Dr Asad Rahim explained the physiology of a normal thyroid function and where in the process it can go wrong causing the different thyroid disorders. He provided a rationale for using thyroxine (T4) rather than tri-iodothyronine (T3). In answer to a question on the role of exercise on metabolism he said 'it won't make any difference to metabolism. If stable, muscles should self-regulate and exercise muscle pain is no different to the pain experienced by someone with normal thyroid functions.' He explained that the Thyroid regulates protein in muscles and for an overactive thyroid it breaks down muscles causing weakness of the larger muscles of the body, usually legs, which can take several months to improve and regain muscle. He also answered questions on the reasons for weight gain or loss, the effect on bones and the heart.

Fay Hunkins Walcott talked about two government funded schemes.

‘Access to Work’ and ‘Disabled Student’s Allowance’

For both schemes access is a simple phone call or email; contact details can be found on

The meeting was well attended.

4 September 2010

The meeting was held at the Morris Centre, Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre, Birmingham. Approximately 20 people attended starting with registration (thank you Alison) and refreshments (thank you Susan and Peter). Also thanks to Nigel, Neil and Tanya who provided help and support throughout the afternoon. Dr. Kristien Boelaert presented 'Thyroid Cancer - Causes, Treatments, Side Effects and Recurrence' and followed with a Q&A session. Dr Boelaert is a MRC Clinician Scientist at the University of Birmingham and Consultant Endocrinologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Dr Kristien Boelaert provided a vast amount of information with her very interesting power point presentation on the causes, treatments, side effects and recurrence of thyroid cancer. Dr Boelaert has agreed to her presentation being distributed, and I am happy to send it via email upon request. I have converted her power point presentation to PDF for those who do not have Microsoft Office. The presentation provides details of the classification and known causes of thyroid cancer, survival rates, the different treatments and risk factors associated with the different classifications. The final slide concludes:

  • Thyroid nodules are common –thyroid cancer is rare
  • Most thyroid cancers are differentiated and have a good prognosis
  • Surgery, radioiodine and TSH suppression form cornerstones of management
  • Easy monitoring through tumour markers
  • Novel new therapies on the horizon

Dr Boelaert followed the presentation with a question and answer session which was not restricted to thyroid cancer. Dr Boelaert joined the group for refreshments afterwards and continued to answer questions on a one to one basis.

Feedback from the evaluation forms, via email and comments on the day were akin to ‘I thought Dr Kristien Boelaert was a brilliant speaker. I found it very informative.’ Many thanks to Dr Boelaert .

12 June 2010

Mark CooperAt our meeting in June the speaker was Dr Mark S Cooper, Consultant and Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham Medical Science Division. Dr Cooper talked about ‘The links between blood results and symptoms’.

Around 45 people attended the meeting, which started with registration and refreshments. Dr Cooper presented his talk with a Powerpoint presentation followed by a Q&A session. He opened by accepting the diversity of people and the implications when thinking about a population or an individual. He acknowledges that the idea of a ‘normal’ range is controversial and insists they should be considered as guidelines only.

‘Thyroid Tests: What are they? What do they do?’ Dr Cooper asked. He explained that the main blood tests are for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free T4 or thyroxine (FT4) and Free T3 or triiodothyronine (FT3). The tests tell what is going on in the body. The speed of change is different for the different tests. TSH takes longer to move around our body’s system and therefore to see any change from one test result to another would take a much longer period than the much quicker movement of FT4 and FT3. He suggested that both FT4 and TSH should ideally be tested to have a more accurate idea of what is happening and we should be asking questions if only one of them has been tested.

He then went on to discuss symptoms. Dr Cooper acknowledged the differences in symptoms which vary between individuals. Some have few, others have lots. It is difficult to exclude symptoms until you have treatment and the blood tests show that you have normalised. The normalising of symptoms has varying time-scales, he said, for example, it takes two years for hair condition to get better, yet where the heart rate is affected it takes a much shorter time after treatment is started to notice a change. So in summary the different symptoms change at different rates.

Dr Cooper next discussed what happens when tests are linked with symptoms. If a patient feels fine but tests are abnormal Dr Cooper said he would assess the risks and the various complications that might arise if he did nothing. As a consultant he has the responsibility to weigh up what is best for the patient in the long term. If a patient’s blood tests show they are ok when they are feeling very ill, he said patients shouldn’t be ‘told’ that they don’t feel ill. What he would do is make sure nothing else is going on. He pointed out though that sometimes we have to accept the technology and medical knowledge is not yet there to diagnose what is happening.

28 November 2009

Speakers: Carole Ingham (BTF Bolton Lc & Chair of BTF Thyroid Cancer Group) spoke about her own experience with follicular thyroid cancer and her role in BTF.

Prof Jayne Franklyn, President of British Thyroid Association and ex-officio BTF Trustee, presented a powerpoint on thyroid disorders. Prof Franklyn stressed the importance of not taking supplements such as kelp if you have a thyroid disorder. There were 59 people in attendance. The majority of those who completed the evaluation form said they found the meeting useful and that an enjoyable part of the event was meeting other people they could relate to.

Profile - Janet Prentice

Janet Prentice 2012I am coordinator of the BTF Birmingham local group, a BTF telephone contact and Trustee. I worked as an insurance underwriter for 32 years. Because of my involvement in charity work I made the move to Health Care. My new career started with delivering a Chronic Disease Self-Management Course to patients with long term health conditions; I moved onto become a Health Care Assistant for the NHS and staying with the NHS I am currently working in research.
I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in February 1994 following a surgical (open) biopsy, and underwent a total thyroidectomy and removal of cancerous lymph nodes (which resulted in permanent hypoparthyroidism). During my initial diagnosis and treatment I had various types of scans, fine needle aspiration, surgery to remove two further suspect nodules and radioactive iodine ablation. My lifelong care includes annual hospital check-ups and appropriately maintaining my thyroid levels.