To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to prevent imports of medical goods and personal protective equipment produced by forced labour.
11 January 2022
The Department published its Modern Slavery statement in October 2021 which is available at the following link:
Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. Suppliers appointed to NHS Supply Chain framework contracts, which provide the majority of medical goods and services to the National Health Service, must comply with the Labour Standards Assurance System or they can be removed from consideration for future procurement.
The Department was aware that the direct, urgent sourcing and purchasing of personal protective equipment in 2020 involved higher risks in ethical and business practices and had a number of mitigations in place. The Department of Health and Social Care engaged with NHS Supply Chain, the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office regarding modern slavery concerns in awarding contracts. Additional training and guidance was distributed to strengthen buying professionals’ knowledge of modern slavery risks specific to the pandemic.