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Congress is finally here...

After a reschedule and months of planning, Congress is here. Six months later than originally planned, a March Congress, in the wake of the pandemic, has huge significance and a lot to offer its delegates, writes IBMS Deputy Chief Executive Sarah May.

Safety is our priority, and we are aware that Congress may represent the biggest indoor gathering of people that many of our delegates will have experienced for almost two years. Consequently, we want to reassure everyone that we take the safety of our delegates, exhibitors and staff very seriously and will be implementing on-site COVID safety measures that go beyond the minimum requirement measures that are in place in the UK. All people entering the Congress areas of the ICC will be required to show a valid NHS COVID pass. In addition, all attendees will be asked to wear a face covering, if possible, while on site.

All delegates and exhibition visitors will checked by ICC staff for compliance with the above requirement and will be denied entry if unable to do so, unless evidence of medical exemption is provided. Individuals who are on-site for more than two days will be required to undergo a recheck every 48 hours.

In view of this additional requirement delegates are asked to allow extra time, in addition to the expected registration time upon arrival, in order not to miss any part of the lecture programme, which will begin at 9am each day and at 13.00 on the Monday. Once safely through the COVID checks, delegates are promised a Congress with even more new and different content.

Our opening day of Monday 14 has added an entirely new lecture programme – Politics and Pathology. This new programme provides a strong complement to the Education and Training and Quality Management programmes for those who would like to choose specific talks from all of these programmes – the lecture halls are located close to each other, so transferring between programmes is easy.

Our Opening Plenary afternoon on Tuesday 15 boasts one of the fullest programmes we have ever hosted, and we are delighted to be able to welcome the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Sir Jonathan Van Tam, to Congress. Unsurprisingly, he will be speaking on COVID and the lessons that have been learned from the UK pandemic response.

Preceding the Opening Plenary we have a full morning of 10 parallel lecture programmes that include a second day of education and training plus a new programme of presentations from UKAS to introduce the new revised ISO 15189 standards. As always, we will be running a full free seminar programme in our exhibition hall, which both exhibition visitors and delegates are welcome to attend. Our themes include safety and risk, education and training and a genomics update.

Our Closing Plenary lecture on Thursday 17 will be delivered by Dr Suzy Lishman CBE and she will be speaking about the hidden killers in the Victorian home. This fascinating talk was the subject of a BBC documentary of the same title and is a scientific subject with a difference. We are looking forward to seeing you there.  

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