Supply of vital medical aids could disappear in Britain as costs soar

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The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) said firms were being hit by Covid, world supply delays and post-Brexit uncertainty.

Two fifths of 57 suppliers of products including beds, stairlifts and first aid equipment, told the trade body they would consider slashing the amount of stock they produce or distribute.

More than a third were thinking about cutting staff and 29 percent would focus on international markets.

Eighty-four percent also felt the Government did not understand the challenges they faced.

They urged ministers to give more financial support, tackle regulatory uncertainty and cut red tape for healthcare businesses.

BHTA chief executive, David Stockdale, said: “These findings are incredibly worrying but not surprising.

“Without a fast resolution, businesses will be forced to discontinue products and services, investment confidence will be decimated, and we will lose jobs and goods to international markets with more stable and business-friendly regulatory environments.”

The group said as well as sterling price fluctuation, businesses selling products to the NHS, local authorities and other public bodies were facing rising costs for shipping, logistics, raw materials, energy and wages.

Some, it said, were turning to other markets where costs can be more easily recovered, leaving British patients “as casualties in this price vs patients battle”.

Sarah Sleet, of Crohn’s & Colitis UK, said patients who need equipment for a stoma must not face uncertainty.

She said: “It is essential this access is maintained.”

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