Belfast Telegraph

Medical test experts hold conference in Belfast

By Margaret Canning

Experts in medical testing are coming to Belfast for their annual conference – after holding the event in Miami, Florida, last year.

Randox Medical Testing, which is based in Crumlin, Co Antrim, said it had lobbied "intensely" for the International Forum for Drug and Alcohol Testing (IFDAT) to hold its conference in the city.

As a result, the event will now take place in Titanic Belfast on September 11 and 12. Around 200 experts in drug and alcohol testing from aviation, energy, oil and gas, logistics and engineering sectors are expected to attend.

They are set to discuss issues and developments during the event, which is sponsored by Randox.

The conference has previously visited international cities like Sao Paolo in Brazil, Barcelona, Houston, and Rome.

Per Bjorklov, the Swedish chairman of IFDAT and chief executive of Drugtestscandinavia, said Belfast had won out over other cities.

"I was fortunate to visit Belfast during one of the many international events it has hosted in recent years – the World Police and Fire Games 2013.

"The warmth of the welcome for international visitors is truly overwhelming, and the IFDAT committee was keen for delegates to enjoy a special visitor experience."

The event was also glad to secure Titanic Belfast as a location.

"Having experienced it as a guest at the World Police and Fire Games it is a conference space of international renown."

Randox Testing Services global business manager Gary McCutcheon said IFDAT was "the premier event" in drug and alcohol testing.

"We are proud to have convinced the organisers to choose Northern Ireland.

"With our central role it is a valuable opportunity to showcase Randox Testing Services as an industry leader, as well as providing an economic boost for the local hospitality sector."

Randox provides forensic toxicology services to police forces in the UK. It also provides workplace testing for industries like transport, aviation, construction and facilities management, where the sobriety and safety of workers – and customers – is crucial.

Belfast will host an even larger event in the health sciences sector in 2016 when the European Federation of Animal Science conference brings 1,200 delegates at the end of August.

The event will take place in the Waterfront and smaller sessions will take place around the city.

Belfast Telegraph