Acknowledging the significant role that Congress plays in the veterinary calendar, BSAVA has been closely monitoring the situation and has delayed this decision as far as possible. While the most recent government advice does not prohibit large public gatherings, BSAVA recognises the importance of personal safety for Congress attendees and the need to support the profession in preserving its business continuity, maintaining client services and protecting animal welfare. In the light of these concerns, BSAVA feels it is not in the best interests of the profession or the public for such a large-scale event to go ahead.
Amanda Stranack, BSAVA CEO, said:
“As the situation continues to escalate, the government have given a clear steer that they expect more stringent controls to come into force in the coming weeks. With Congress now only a few weeks away, we want to give all our attendees as much notice as possible, both to ensure peace of mind, and to give people adequate time and flexibility to change their plans. BSAVA recognises the pressures the current situation brings to bear on the veterinary community and in making this difficult decision, has the interests of the profession first and foremost in its mind.
“We would thank all those who have worked hard over the past two years to contribute to the development of Congress, a huge amount of effort goes into preparations from BSAVA volunteers, Congress participants and our staff.”
Congress 2020 was set to be the 30th year in Birmingham, and the last year that the event would be hosted in the city before moving to Manchester in 2021.
Sue Paterson, BSAVA President, said:
“It is with great regret that we have made the difficult decision to cancel Congress, which has taken place annually for more than 60 years. Congress is an incredibly important event in the veterinary calendar, and we were all looking forward to an inspiring agenda and saying a fond farewell to the city that has made Congress such a great success over so many years. The health and wellbeing of our attendees is of utmost importance to us, and whilst we are sorry to be making this decision, we are confident it is the right one.”
Congress provides more than 450 hours of CPD over 4 days, and BSAVA are aware that cancelling the event will have big implications for many delegates. BSAVA remain committed to supporting vets and vet nurses to access high quality CPD, and are now looking at alternative routes for delivering Congress lectures and podcasts.
Sue Paterson added:
“Whilst we won’t be able to deliver the full Congress programme, we will be working with our speakers to capture as many lectures as we can to make content available online.”
More details will be shared as they become available. BSAVA will be notifying delegates, exhibitors and other service providers directly with more information and next steps.
BSAVA will continue to review their full programme of events and CPD as the national situation continues to develop. Updates will be shared regularly on the BSAVA website.