Medical device supplies at risk without government support, urge MPs

This week over 40 UK MPs and Peers have rallied behind an open letter urging the government to protect the production of medical device, equipment and healthcare products.

The letter, which was published on Tuesday and was co-ordinated by the British Healthcare Trades association (BHTA), warns that health and social care businesses are facing unprecedented operational and regulatory pressures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, rampant inflation and the post-Brexit regulatory transition.

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Signed by over 40 MPs, authorities warn in the letter that without greater support from the government, these pressures will result in medical devices being withdrawn from supply and investment being moved out of the UK, with an impact on the quality of care received by patients.

Additionally, technology in the healthcare sector is helping to temporarily relieve staffing pressures. Last year adult social care vaccines had increased by 52%, but smart technologies provided by organisations such as Oysta have helped to keep patients at home, helping free up beds in care homes for those who desperately need them.

The letter calls for four key steps from the government to protect the healthcare supply chains, including a review of NHS supply chain frameworks and a formal mechanism to address the relationship between prices and patient care-quality needs. The letter was composed after a recent survey of BHTA members discovering that 41% of healthcare manufacturers and suppliers were considering reducing the stock they produce.

Survey results also shows a further 84% of healthcare manufacturers felt that the government did not fully understand the operational pressures they are facing.

David Stockdale, Chief Executive of the British Healthcare Trades Association, said: ‘Anything from a walking stick to a defibrillator, continence pad or hearing aid, can provide the means for patients to live happier, more independent lifestyles.

‘In many cases, these tools and technologies are the first line of defence to save lives and prevent severe health issues.

‘Yet healthcare manufacturers and suppliers are now facing the most difficult operating environment in recent history – one unsuitable for the long-term production of devices, equipment and mobility aids that patients desperately need.

‘We’re pleased so many parliamentarians understand the urgency of these issues and hope ministers will take immediate action.’

Image: Richard Bell


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