These are extraordinary times. In the COVID-19 pandemic we are seeing the way health research is central to saving lives, changing behaviour and readying our NHS for the incredible challenges that are coming. But as people, as members of the community, with colleagues, family members and friends who could be affected by this virus, we are all anxious, worried and concerned.
In these circumstances, the HSR UK 2020 annual conference, planned for 1-3 July 2020 in Manchester, cannot take place as we had intended. But with an incredibly full and varied programme, and at a time when the health services research community really needs to come together, we simply could not cancel the conference.
So, we are pleased to tell you that we plan that HSR UK 2020 will go ahead on 1-3 July 2020: it will be an entirely virtual and online conference, completely free to anyone to attend – from the UK and internationally. We are revising the programme and will be livestreaming plenary sessions – some of which will focus on the contribution health services research is making to the global COVID-19 pandemic – as well as bringing all our oral papers, posters and sessions to life on the website.
As you can imagine there is a lot for us to do to make this happen, but for now – please keep 1-3 July 2020 in your diary! If you are a poster or paper presenter or session organiser, we will be in touch in the next few days to explain what we plan to do, and how your contribution to the conference will still go ahead. If you have already registered for the conference, we will be in touch shortly to explain how to either get a refund or defer your place at the conference to 2021.
These are incredibly difficult times for all of us – but we can be really proud of the way that research is in the frontline of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and finding solutions to the problems our health and care system faces. We will come together on 1-3 July 2020, wherever we all are, both to celebrate that contribution and to continue making a difference to patients, service users, health and care organisations, and society.