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Success for UK innovators at this year’s Arab Health

Written by: Dr Neville Young - 3rd March 2023

Arab Health, which runs in Dubai annually, is one of the biggest healthcare technology trade shows in the world with around 3000 companies exhibiting from over 70 countries. The UK had one of the biggest national footprints at the show in 2023 with over 250 companies exhibiting, which was by some measures the second strongest presence after China. Footfall at the show is estimated at between 90k and 100k people a day for 4 days providing a marketplace for UK based innovators. Arab Health is estimated to drive around £700 million pounds of global business each year directly as a result of the show – why wouldn’t the UK and the region be represented?

Arab Health is also much more than a trade show, it is an opportunity to meet and learn from suppliers operating in different territories, to meet other healthcare systems and their leadership teams and exchange proactively on a system-to-system level. It also creates an unprecedented opportunity for UK health leaders to interact with the UK healthcare industry on 1:1 basis that is almost impossible to recreate when in the UK due to day-to-day operating pressures. This is something Michael Duffin of UCLPartners also covers in his reflections on the conference and the opportunities for UK health innovators it provides.

The West Yorkshire region was once again strongly represented by some outstanding local healthcare business this year including, Radar Healthcare and Brandon Medical as part of Medilink UK, Paxman and Association of British Healthtech Industries (ABHI) who deliver the UK Pavilion on behalf of the nation.

The region was also once again represented by the local West Yorkshire Combined Authority team, which this year was brilliantly led by the West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, accompanied by senior representation from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust who sent along their Strategy Director, James Goodyear and the Head of Commercial, Roy Charlton, all of them on a whistle stop 48 hour visit.  The Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network was delighted to help support this delegation, using our network to ensure the region was showcased as widely as possible.

The power of this small but expert group allowed West Yorkshire to showcase itself as a “region” that was leading nationally in the HealthTech space. The Mayor joined an AHSN organised breakfast meeting alongside James Goodyear from Leeds Teachings Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT) and Paul Johnson, from Leeds-based Radar Healthcare to discuss with local health leaders how Healthtech Innovation could support substantiable healthcare. This was a well-attended and received session introduced by Lord Ajay Kakkar, who set the scene and closed by the CEO of the ABHI, Peter Ellingworth. The Mayor also chaired a session on how HealthTech industry as an ecosystem can help support the NHS mission to deliver a net zero healthcare system. Ideas were shared from the Greener NHS team, James Goodyear from LTHT and representatives for the Abu Dhabi Department of Health. Also, fantastic to see James promoting our world leading National Pathology Imaging Collaborative (NPIC) at the show – truly internationally leading innovation driven out of LTHT.

These strategic conversations, demonstrating the thought leadership emerging from the West Yorkshire region were highlighted at the UK Embassy reception where once again the Mayor led the region’s conversation on HealthTech with the wider community.

Arab Health offers a great opportunity to work with and meet different health systems and great international HealthTech SMEs. I was particularly grateful to the BD team who alongside Newmarket Strategy facilitated a visit to the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi to view a HIMMS levels 7 hospital. The AHSN was also able to introduce and help facilitate conversation with innovative businesses and colleagues from LTHT that would be almost impossible to deliver back in the UK. Great to see James and Roy discussing the region’s health care challenges and opportunities with Huma Therapeutics, Radar Healthcare, AdviseInc, Inicio Health, Cushman Wakefield as well as exploiting how to maximise our MoU with the ABHI to do more to promote the region on the global stage.

With so much potential to both showcase the region’s excellence in Healthtech and Healthcare delivery the question is, how do we do more in the international space to promote what we are doing in the region in a way that drives business activity to support the health agenda and to promotes the region’s economic growth?