Medical education and events join Covid-19 cancellation list

Author: Mark Gould

Closures and cancellations due to Covid-19 continue to widen in a bid to delay spread of the virus. Schools and museums are closing and sports events are being postponed across the world. Scotland is among the countries to have restricted mass gatherings to free up emergency services, along with the Irish Republic where schools, colleges and public buildings will close from the 29th March.

Events organised by Royal Medical Colleges have also become casualties to the virus.

Gatherings of more than 100 people have been cancelled or postponed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists as it seeks to protect its members, staff and patients receiving treatment for mental illness from coronavirus.

The College will cancel or postpone gatherings of over 100 people scheduled to take place before the 16 April and will be reviewing its stance on a week-by-week basis.

Paul Rees, CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It is with deep regret that we have decided to take the unprecedented action and postpone large College events.

“The safety of our members, staff and patients is of paramount importance and we will do all we can to protect them from coronavirus.”

From Monday, the College’s 240 staff will have to work from home two days a week and be asked to observe social distance guidelines when they are in the office. This will also be reviewed on a weekly basis. 

Staff are also being advised not to travel for meetings and to avoid international travel for work reasons over the next four weeks.

The College’s president Professor Wendy Burn, said the decision to postpone large gatherings hasn’t been taken lightly, “and is the result of conversations with College officers, members, staff and patients”.

The College’s annual International Congress, due to take place at the end of June, is still scheduled to go ahead.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists has also taken the decision to postpone its flagship conference Anaesthesia 2020, which was due to take place on between 18 to 20 May 2020 at Old Trafford, Manchester.

“We have taken this decision due to the on-going global Covid-19 situation and our wish to reduce the risk to our members and the public.

“We have been closely monitoring government guidelines and the situation across the UK, after consideration with our College Council we will be postponing the event until 18, 19 and 20 May 2021. We apologise to all our delegates and partners for any inconvenience caused.

The College’s president Professor Ravi Mahajan, said: “As this is a fast-evolving situation and our members are front-and-centre of the NHS’s work to treat patients infected with Covid-19, we knew it was a critically important decision to make but one which provides clarity to delegates, speakers and partners regarding this year’s event.

“Protecting the health of our members so they can continue their critically important work, but also of our staff, external partners and the public is paramount. With our conference attracting a global audience, we are taking a responsible approach to protecting the health of vast numbers of clinicians from all over the world when they are needed by their patients.”