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Sunday 20th May 2018

Fair Medical Trade campaign

1st March 2010

The British Medical Association has launched a new campaign to make the health service look at the provenance of the medical instruments it buys and uses.

heart surgery

The BMA have said that a fifth of surgical instruments are constructed in northern Pakistan, where child workers are prevalent.

The campaign said many of the people who make the instruments work in sweatshops and some child workers' ages were as low as seven.

They want the NHS to ensure it uses ethically obtained instruments and pays fair trade prices for them.

The BMA wants NHS workers to get behind the campaign so that workers abroad are paid fairly for the tools they make.

The campaign was launched after a BMA survey of 383 doctors found that eight out of 10 doctors thought the NHS should buy ethically-sourced instruments, but only one in 10 knew about those kind of tools.

Dr Mahmood Bhutta, a surgeon and adviser on the BMA's Medical Fair and Ethical Trade Group, said more work was needed to increase understanding of the issue.

"Some of the workers in the developing world making medical supplies bound for the NHS are exposed to hazardous working conditions where they risk serious injury and even death," he said.

"There is also evidence that children as young as seven are risking their lives to supply us with equipment to save British lives," he added.


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