Naidex 2019 busy stands and aisles

With Naidex less than two weeks away, all eyes were firmly on the UK’s largest independent living and healthcare event to see whether the show would still proceed given recent coronavirus developments. In a statement released today, it has confirmed that the show is postponed until later in the year.

The decision comes amid growing speculation regarding the fate of this year’s show and the safety of visitors, with thousands of elderly and disabled end-users expected to attend who are most at risk if they contract the virus, along with vitally-needed health and social care professionals.

The official statement from Naidex organiser Roar techmedia says: “The organiser of leading care show Naidex (17th-18th March 2020, NEC Birmingham), has been closely monitoring updates on the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

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“Like many large event organisers, the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and staff is always our number one priority. This is particularly pertinent in the care and health sector communities that Naidex brings together.

“Many of our visitors are, or are on the frontline of supporting, the most vulnerable in society. This combined with the fact that health and social care workers will be critical to ongoing containment and management strategies, means that we have taken the decision to reschedule Naidex to later in the year and will confirm this date by Monday 16th March 2020. This will include all events co-located with Naidex including Smart Home for Assisted Living, Dementia, Care & Nursing Home, Home Care Expo, Care Tech Live, European Neuro Convention, Medical Imaging Convention, European Oncology Convention and AI&ML Convention.

“While this is not a decision that has been taken lightly, we feel that it is the right one – not just for the care and health sector but for the wider community as a whole. We are of course, in ongoing communication with our exhibitors, speakers, partners and suppliers. Those we have managed to speak to thus far have been exceptionally understanding. If you are affected and the team hasn’t managed to reach you yet, please know that we will be in touch very shortly. Alternatively please contact the Event team directly at Enquiries@ROARB2B.com or +44 (0) 117 990 2092.

“Thank you for your understanding and support and we look forward to welcoming you later in the year.”

For many companies in the industry, Naidex is the biggest event in the mobility, independent living and access calendar where businesses can showcase new products to thousands of end-users and healthcare professionals ahead of the busy spring retail season.

With so much invested in the way of marketing materials, promotion, hotel expenses and more, the cancellation will come as a blow to many suppliers and retailers, however, many are relieved the show has been pushed back to protect vulnerable visitors and essential care professionals.

A rising epidemic

The announcement comes as coronavirus continues to spread across the UK. On Thursday 5th May, the first UK fatality as a result of coronavirus was confirmed following the passing of a woman in her 70s.

In addition, Birmingham also saw its first confirmed coronavirus case on Thursday. According to Birmingham City Council, the affected individual is currently being treated in hospital though their symptoms are said to not be severe.

Following the recent coronavirus developments in the UK, health officials in the UK are moving towards phase two of their response plans to the coronavirus which will aim to “delay” the spread, giving the NHS vital time required to prepare for a mass outbreak.

The Government confirmed that it would formally announce when the response officially switches from “contain” to “delay” – the action has not yet been taken.

Industry disruption

First making headlines at the beginning of the year, COVID-19 – the specific strain of coronavirus – quickly spread throughout China’s province of Hubei, leading the Chinese Government to shut down the majority of factories and docks for an extended period and wreaking havoc on global supply chains.

Since the outbreak in China, the effects of coronavirus have been felt across the industry, with suppliers reporting delayed stock shipments and retailers including Ableworld and Lifestyle & Mobility taking action to prepare.

Gradually, the virus has moved to different countries around the world as governments have scrambled to prepare and prevent a pandemic. In Europe, the virus managed to gain a foothold in Italy, with the Government now struggling to gain control.

On the other side of the pond, the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition – one of the largest healthcare events in the world bringing together nearly 45,000 technology professionals, clinicians, executives and market suppliers from across the globe – announced on Thursday 5th March that it was cancelling the 2020 show scheduled to take place on the 9th to the 13th in Orlando, Florida.

“We recognize all the hard work that so many have put into preparing for their presentations and panels that accompany every HIMSS conference,” said Hal Wolf, President and CEO of HIMSS.

“Based on evaluation of evolving circumstances and coordination with an external advisory panel of medical professionals to support evidence-based decision making, it is clear that it would be an unacceptable risk to bring so many thousands of people together in Orlando next week.”


THIIS wants to hear the trade’s thoughts. What impact do you see this having on the sector and businesses? Contact Editor Calvin Barnett at info@thiis.co.uk

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