As you would expect, as a team and with our organising committee, we have been closely monitoring the situation regarding the appropriateness of face-to-face conferencing.
In the light of increasing prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, the threat of a second spike, and although reassured by the fact that we are not currently seeing increasing numbers of hospital deaths, we are now seeing increased hospital admissions. We have had to consider the safety aspect and moral responsibility, of bringing together large numbers of key workers.
The current policy guidance from NHS England is that all non-essential work should continue to be delivered from home until the end of December 2020. They strongly advise that attending conferences or face to face meetings, would be considered non-essential in this context. This policy also relates to non-essential travel.
As such, we have taken the difficult decision to delay our conferences scheduled for November until February 2021. For operational reasons and after discussion with the venues this has also meant we have had to revise the date for our February Infection Prevention and Control Conference. These measures will ensure the safety of all our attendees, speakers and commercial partners at this time of uncertainty.
I understand that this will be highly disappointing, but I am certain that you will agree with me, that the safety of yourselves and all health professionals at a very challenging time of year, should be our main and only priority. All bookings will be automatically transferred to our new dates. Should you no longer wish to attend or now be unable please advise us to cancel your place. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns or questions.
We are currently planning all our events in consultation with government COVID advice, and the venue’s own COVID-safe protocols. These measures include distancing, limiting venue capacities and one-way systems.