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Clinical Fellow at Harwell highlights issues of unethical trade in healthcare purchasing

Mahmood Bhutta, a clinical research fellow at Harwell, has been in the national media reporting unethical labour conditions in the manufacture of surgical instruments used in the NHS. He reports that workers in Pakistan are exposed to poor health and safety, long hours and inadequate remuneration. There is also a significant use of child labour. He has been working with the NHS to develop ethical purchasing guidelines for all healthcare products, released for consultation on 8th December.

The Guardian report can be accessed at www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/dec/08/nhs-instruments-child-labour

The NHS consultation document can be seen at http://wwww.pasa.nhs.uk/PASAWeb/NHSprocurement/Sustainabledevelopment/Ethicalprocurement/LandingPage.htm

Mahmood was a founding member of the British Medical Association Medical Fair and Ethical Trade Group, which was instigated in 2007. The group aims to investigate, promote and facilitate fair and ethical trade in the production and supply of commodities to the healthcare industry and is supported by UK Government.

www.bma.org.uk/ap.nsf/Content/fairandethicaltradegroup

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