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Government to eradicate modern slavery from NHS supply chains

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Concern has been raised that some PPE has been Concern has been raised that some PPE has been manufactured using forced labour in China

The government has tabled an amendment to the Health and Care Bill aiming to eradicate the use of goods and services in the NHS that are affected by slavery and human trafficking.

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The amendment will help ensure the NHS, which is the biggest public procurer in the country, is not buying or using goods or services produced by or involving any kind of slave labour.

The power will allow tough regulations to be made which can set out steps that the NHS should be taking to assess the level of risk associated with individual suppliers, and the basis on which they should exclude them from a tendering process.

‘I want this to be a turning point in the UK’s mission to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in supply chains around the globe. As the biggest public procurer in the country, the NHS is well placed to spearhead this work,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.

The change comes after the UK bought billions of pounds of protective health equipment during the pandemic, some of which was allegedly manufactured by forced labour in China. The government revealed in February that the UK had bought £5.8bn worth of lateral flow tests from China.

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