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British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition


The original BSPGHAN constitution was first adopted in 1997 and was last updated in 2018 – a copy can be downloaded below:

Code of Conduct

Council has voted (Jan 2021) and it has been presented at the AGM (Jan 2021) that BSPGHAN will no longer accept sponsorship for BSPGHAN events from nutritional companies that manufacture and promote Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS). 

This brings BSPGHAN in line with recommendations from WHO and UNICEF and follows the decision already made by fellow professional bodies: the RCPCH, BDA, and BSACI. This is also in keeping with key areas of the Charity Commission Code of Conduct

  1. “Trustees adopt and follow a suitable code of conduct that reflects the charity’s values and sets out expected standards of ethics, probity and behaviour”
  2. “The board considers how the charity is seen by the people and organisations who are involved in its work and by the wider public”.
  3. “The board has policies and procedures to make sure that the charity works responsibly and ethically, has regard to the proper use of power and acts in line with its own aims and values”

Our Guidelines concerning grants to BSPGHAN from industry have been updated below. Individual members of BSPGHAN may continue to make personal decisions around whether they accept funding from BMS product divisions of companies.  

BSPGHAN Code of Conduct: Conflict of Interest statement for persons presenting at BSPGHAN scientific meetings  

  1. As a part of good practice Health professionals should declare any conflicts of interest arising when publishing or presenting scientific data
  2. These guidelines are in line with the General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice1, The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of professional conduct2and Health Professions Council Standards of conduct performance and ethics.3
  3. BSPGHAN council invites those presenting at BSPGHAN meetings to include a slide summarising any potential conflict of interest.
  4. A conflict of interest is deemed as any inducement, gift or hospitality that may affect, or be seen to affect the judgement of the person in question.
  5. There is nothing wrong or unethical about having a conflict of interest but any that exists should be openly acknowledged.
  6. In practice this would mean declaration of any significant funding received to support research activities from the pharmaceutical industry or other funding body. This would be especially important if any of the sponsoring bodies’ products were to be discussed during the course of the presentation.
  7. Members would not be expected to declare the amount of sponsorship given or the nature of the sponsorship.
  8. If no conflict of interest exists then a slide declaring that should be included in the presentation.
  9. Breast Milk substitute (BMS) product divisions of companies and their representatives may be invited to speak at BSPGHAN events if the organising committee feel they require an update, but no sponsorship fee can be accepted.  Any such presentations must focus on scientific updates only, and they would only be invited in order to present and take questions. Similarly, BMS product divisions of companies may be invited to provide information which the organising committee feel supports the delivery of the event learning objectives, but no sponsorship fee can be accepted. 

BSPGHAN council (October 2005) 

UPDATED March 2021

Guidelines concerning grants to BSPGHAN from industry  

  1. BSPGHAN accepts support from outside sources including industry for educational, scientific and professional activities. Such support is subject to the principles outlined in this document.
  2. BSPGHAN is responsible for deciding on its own educational, scientific and professional objectives and priorities.
  3. BSPGHAN will no longer accept event sponsorship from product divisions of companies that promote Breast Milk substitute (BMS) products.  This includes sponsorship of  BSPGHAN-led conferences, seminars, study days and training courses, including working groups and regional events endorsed by BSPGHAN
  4. BSPGHAN aligns with the UNICEF definition of BMS which is any product which replaces breast milk for children up to the age of three years, including FSMPs (complete clinical paediatric products, specialist formulas and feeds, as well as over the counter preparations).
  5. Only BMS product divisions of companies are included in this policy – providers of foods and FSMP products for children aged over three years will continue to be invited to sponsor BSPGHAN events as these are not within the UNICEF definition of BMS. BSPGHAN will maintain guidance for event organisers in this respect. 
  6. Any activity receiving commercial support must have a clear and explicitly stated purpose in keeping with the objectives of the Society as stated in Rule 2 of the BSPGHAN constitution.*
  7. BSPGHAN is responsible for choosing any persons or organisations that may control, influence or evaluate its activities.
  8. BSPGHAN will not explicitly endorse any product or company.
  9. The BSPGHAN logo may not be used in a way that indicates or suggests BSPGHAN endorsement of a particular product, brand or company or of a company’s policies unless explicit consent is given by BSPGHAN.
  10. Acceptance by BSPGHAN of a grant from industry does not imply that BSPGHAN will use its influence to support the company’s interests beyond the specific arrangement itself.

11.The principal parties must sign an agreement defining the relationship, its duration and the responsibilities of the respective parties.

12.BSPGHAN prefers to obtain support for its activities from a variety of sources, and exclusive arrangements require mutual consent. 

  1. BSPGHAN will still engage in dialogue with BMS product divisions of companies in order to influence and advocate, but these relationships will be outside of a sponsorship context.  This new policy applies to event sponsorship only and does not include other sponsorship such as individual consultancy, insight work or other projects.

14.Individual BSPGHAN members and local/regional education committees may continue to make personal decisions around whether they accept funding from BMS product divisions of companies for events that are not BSPGHAN events. 

Convenor, BSPGHAN

June 2005  

Updated June 2017, Convenor BSPGHAN  


*’The objectives of the Society shall be the advancement of research, clinical excellence and training in paediatric gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition  


  1. General Medical Council. Good Medical Practice 3rd Edition May 2001 p17-18 sections 53-55.
  2. The Nursing and Midwifery Council. The NMC Code of professional conduct: standards for conduct, performance and ethics. 2004 p10 section 7.
  3. Health professions council. Standards of Conduct performance


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