March 19 2021
By Joyce DiMascio
This week the Australian Healthcare Week Expo was the first major business event to be held at International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) since the pandemic began, marking a major milestone for the reopening of the sector.
Organised by IQPC, the event attracted good crowds both at the expo and in the packed-out education forums. The ICC Sydney carpark was full by 10.30 on the show’s opening morning, a positive indicator that participants were keen to be back face-to-face with colleagues.
There were smiles across faces throughout the venue – especially with the organising, venue and supplier teams. It was a tense lead-up to show day with the announcement of the first Covid community transmission in 55 days. Organisers dreaded the impact this would have on the show and potentially the risk of not being able to open the doors.
However, for the first time in 12 months, the stars aligned and the doors opened to an enthusiastic crowd from the critical health sector. This is the ultimate irony, that a health crisis closed the sector and a health event would mark the lift-off of expos in Sydney again.
The show floor looked normal, few people wore marks and ICC Sydney staff managed sanitation and check-in processes seamlessly and firmly. All attendees were required to use the Service NSW app to check in.
IQPC said on the eve of the event there were 6,500 unique registrations and more than 150 exhibitors.
At the time of writing, IQPC Regional Managing Director Noel Mc Dermott would not be drawn on declaring the show “a success” and said he would wait till the event concluded before shouting from the roof tops.
“The show is over 10% larger than the 2019 edition,” he said.
“We would have been even larger if we could have accommodated our international exhibitors.”
Judging by the vibe on the exhibition floor, visitors, delegates and exhibitors were pleased to be back meeting face to face.
A range of high-tech health sector supplies and services were being showcased including remote medicine, AI diagnostics, patient chairs and examination tables of all descriptions, personal protective gear and fascinating pods and sleep stations for shift and night workers.
The education sessions were run in the four corners of the show which ran across Halls 3 and 4. Delegate catering was set up in the centre of the halls to maximise networking.
The education strands covered Nursing and Midwifery, Patient Experience, GPs & Primary Healthcare, Healthcare Workforce, Start-ups and Women in Leadership. There were over 200 speakers across the conferences and theatres.
In a sign of industry solidarity, visitors to the show included organisers of other major exhibitions eager to see the event take off and the industry get back on its feet.
Several industry stalwarts told micenet they were looking forward to their shows re-opening later in the year. Confidence is coming back to some parts of the industry and if Australian Healthcare Week Expo is any indication, there is a huge appetite to get back to these business and learning exchanges.
A big congratulations to IQPC from micenet on being the first show back at ICC Sydney.
While there have been events around the country, it’s a major boost to see “people back in the building” at one of Australia’s biggest business events hubs, ICC Sydney.