A History of BASH

BASH was founded by Dr Tim Steiner in 1992. Dr Mark Weatherall is a member and previous Chair of The British Association for the Study of Headache and gives an outline of the history of BASH here:

BASH : working for better headache management since 1992

The British Association for the Study of Headache (BASH) is the United Kingdom national headache society. The Association was founded in 1992 by Dr Timothy J Steiner of The Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic, Charing Cross Hospital, London and was formally incorporated as a charity and limited company in 1998. As in all limited companies, the management of BASH is in the hands of a Board of Directors, which is known as Council. The members of Council are also the Trustees of the Charity, and have responsibility for the day-to-day running of the Association.

The International Headache Society

The first national professional organisation dedicated to headache was the American Association for the Study of Headache, founded in 1959. The International Headache Society was founded in 1982.

(Editor's note: you can join the IHS here)

The IHS meetings were well attended, and in the early 1990s it was suggested that there might be enough worldwide interest to create national bodies that could bring people together and work towards improving headache care in their own country. Tim Steiner therefore founded BASH in 1992. 

BASH publishes Consensus guidelines

BASH’s first major contribution to headache care in the UK was the publication of its consensus guidelines on the management of headache, co-authored by Tim Steiner, Anne MacGregor and Paul Davies. This went through series of revisions over the following two decades, and was generally regarded as the most accessible and authoritative resource of its time.

In 2018 the guidelines were replaced by the BASH Headache Management System, written by Stuart Weatherby, Anish Bahra, David Kernick and Alok Tyagi.

Our role in headache education: locally, nationally and internationally

BASH has played a leading role in headache education in the UK over the years, organising meetings for the public and professionals to promote interest in headache.  Working in close collaboration with the IHS, BASH organised the huge Headache 2000 event in London, which was attended by thousands of experts from all over the world. BASH organises a teaching event at the Migraine Trust International Symposium (MTIS) every other year in London.

Over the last 20 years BASH has organised dozens of local events across the UK, attended by thousands of primary and secondary care clinicians and allied health professionals involved in the care of headache patients.  Most meetings run over two days, with one day for health professionals, followed by a public awareness day run in conjunction with the Migraine Trust.

The Biennial Hull Meeting

In the past 10 years, biennial national headache meetings have taken place in Hull, attended by 200-300 delegates and organised by Prof Fayyaz Ahmed. The Hull meeting has featured speakers of international repute, including IHS presidents Lars Edvinsson and Messoud Ashina.  A particular highlight was the 25th anniversary meeting in 2017, when Rigmor Janssen, Jes Olesen, and Timothy Steiner spoke on various aspects of headache medicine and the global burden of the condition.

Specialist registrar meetings in Keele are regarded as the best introduction to advanced headache management for neurologists-in-training.

(Editor's note: Check out our Events page for more details of upcoming educational meetings)

Influencing Policy

BASH, as a member of the former Headache UK umbrella group, contributed actively to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Headache Disorders (APPGHD) that created reports on headache for UK parliamentarians in 2010 and 2014.  As a registered stakeholder to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), BASH has provided the viewpoint of headache professionals in the assessment of new treatments for headache disorders. In 2019-20, it was the advocacy and persistence of BASH that led to NICE reversing its initial decision to turn down the use of CGRP monoclonal antibodies for migraine prevention in the NHS in England and Wales.

A multi-disciplinary organisation

Over three decades years after its inception, BASH has steadily grown in size and scope. It now has members belonging to many disciplines, including specialist nurses, therapists and other allied healthcare professionals, and GPs with special interest/extended role in headache. Nonetheless, the focus of the Society remains as it was originally specified by Tim Steiner in 1992, that is, to improve the lives of those suffering from headache disorders in the UK.

Past Chairs of BASH

2000-03     Des Carroll

2003-07     Paul Davies

2007-09     David Kernick

2009-11     Richard Peatfield

2011-13     Fayyaz Ahmed

2013-15    Peter Goadsby

2015-17     Alok Tyagi

2015-19     Stuart Weatherby

2019-22     Mark Weatherall

2022-24     Brendan Davies

Dr Mark Weatherall

Consultant Neurologist and Past Chair of BASH

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

(Editor's note: Dr Weatherall is also the author of a new book -"Living with Headaches (Headline Health series): A guide to understanding and treating your symptoms")

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A History of BASH


Registration for the 10th Biennial HULL meeting is now open.

Follow this link for more information.