All meetings and events for members and clinicians have been cancelled, postponed or made virtual by the Royal College of Psychiatrists until the end of May, as it increases measures to protect members, staff and patients from coronavirus.
The escalation in the College’s response to the outbreak comes after the government announced yesterday that the UK has moved from ‘containing’ the virus to ‘delaying’ it.
The College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI), which works with mental health services to assess and improve the quality of care they provide, are cancelling all review visits, training days and events scheduled from Tuesday 17 March.
All events arranged by the College including Faculty and Division conferences, Approved Clinician Induction and Refresher courses, and Section 12 training courses have been cancelled. Registered delegates will automatically receive a full refund of their registration in the next 21 days.
Exams in Oman, Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong have been cancelled but UK exams are still scheduled to go ahead - candidates can withdraw if they wish. The scheduling of exams will be kept under review.
Paul Rees, CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “The growing threat of coronavirus means we have taken the difficult decision to cancel or postpone all events until the end of May.
“The decision was not taken lightly, but the safety of our members, staff and patients must come first. We will continue to do all we can to protect them from coronavirus.”
The National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), have postponed their suicide prevention learning day on 23 March, and also similar days for their reducing restrictive practices and sexual safety programmes, due to be held on 21 April and 18 May, respectively.
Both new members’ ceremonies - for people who have recently passed the College exam - scheduled for later this month, have also been cancelled.
The College’s International Congress, held at the end of June, is still scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Earlier this week the College cancelled all gatherings of more than 100 people and advised all staff to work from home two days a week starting from Monday 16 March. Staff are also being advised not to travel for meetings and to avoid international travel for work reasons.