Dear Colleagues, Dear Friends,
This year there will be no physical, face-to-face congress of the FESSH for the first time in 25 years. This decision of the FESSH Executive Committee is based on Rationality
We all had to learn in the last three months that even in our societies the only certainty is the uncertainty. The impressive dynamics of the disease and the consequential public health decisions, changed parts of our live, more than once, over night.
For example the Swiss government decided recently that events with more than 1000 participants are banned at least until the end of August, depending on the disease activity. So the FESSH congress in Basel starting September 1st. would have been one of the very first events in Switzerland with this amount of people. It is more than likely, if it would be possible to open the doors, that it would go along with major restrictions including social distancing, which would affect the so important personal interaction fundamentally. Not only would it be impossible to have a regular opening ceremony, the FESSH party or any other major get-togethers, but the whole industrial exhibition would be regulated the way, that our industrial partners would be much more isolated than usual.
In addition the often quoted and feared second wave of infections, could be a major game changer again and even with the best concept inhibit the event with short notice.
We felt the last days and weeks, that more and more colleagues, industrial partners and member societies would be relieved to have a decision about the event in Basel. It is easier to cope with a decision, if you like it or not, than with the uncertainty. A survey among the presidents and the delegates of our member societies showed that the majority thinks that they have major difficulties to attend the meeting.
Therefore, together with the still existing travel restrictions, it seems rational to search for an alternative format for the FESSH anniversary meeting 2020.
Not all countries, nor in Europe neither in the rest of the world, have been hit the same way and at the same time of the pandemic crisis. Individual political solutions have been taken and the fact that within Europe different dynamics of the disease spread have been observed, lead to a heterogeneous pattern of the individual local situation. Although different countries started to re-open their lock-down measures it will take months to unify Europe again in terms of personal freedom. Traveling within Europe and even more trans-continental will be significantly affected at least the rest of the year. Unequal conditions, provoked by the pandemic, cause diverse opportunities among our member societies. In addition colleagues, who belong to a risk population, would be double punished. For the Executive Committee it seems therefore just a matter of fairness to offer a meeting format, which is open for all.
The virus provoked an economical crisis, which is just at the beginning to show its ugly face. Not only individuals are touched, but also the whole MedTech industry. We all had or still have a significant lowering of the workload and the subsequent revenue. Especially the colleagues in private, with running fixed expenses might even get at their financial limits. The lower turnover and the vanishing sales volume are forcing the companies to go over their budgets again and to reduce expenses significantly. Unfortunately this will also affect budgets for congresses and educational activities. We already had several companies withdrawing their engagement for the Basel congress. FESSH also feels responsible for our loyal partners and would like to offer a helping hand to trim the costs but still offer hand surgical education on high level in 2020. This is for us an act of solidarity which we take serious.
For all these reasons the FESSH Executive Committee decided to resigned from a face-to-face congress in September in Basel but would like to offer an attractive alternative at the same dates.
The so-called FESSH-ON(line)-WEEK
from the 1st to 5th of September will provide excellent educational events in different formats. Centerpiece will be the two full day event Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of September with live surgical cad-lab demonstrations and battles. On the other days early morning sessions and late night shows offer a great opportunity to combine work and education.
For a minimal fee maximal content shall be offered.
Please show solidarity as well and join on us for the FESSH-ON-WEEK in September
Daniel Herren and Maurizio Calcagni
The Presidents of the FESSH Congress Organizing Committee
Dear Colleagues and Friends
To our greatest regret, we have to cancel the face-to-face FESSH-EFSHT-Congress 2020 in
Basel. The current pandemic situation does not allow us to go on, as too many uncertainties
and constraints such as travelling restrictions and physical distancing would make attending the
congress a tedious, if not impossible, experience.
Nevertheless, we still wish to offer you the possibility to attend the congress and to benefit
from the many interesting symposia our session organisers have put together. We are
therefore preparing a web-based congress at the same dates (Sept. 1-4, 2020), with sessions
in the late afternoons, enabling you to work and still take part in the congress and be
inspired by new ideas and concepts.
We will provide more information, as well as a detailed program, in the next few weeks.
We are looking forward to share this new experience with you, and very much hope to greet
you virtually in September!
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!
Vera Beckmann-Fries and Marianne von Haller
EFSHT Congress Presidents