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SIMA BSTA BHTA 100 YEARS

The story of the conception, development, growth and achievements of a Trade Association that has made a real difference for a century.


BHTA 100 years


Introduction

The practice of sending a congratulatory message to someone who had reached the ripe old age of 100 was formalised in 1917, under the reign of King George V. The now-famous telegrams were delivered by bicycle and that year, the King sent just 24 messages. 1917 was also the year that saw the formation of a Trade Association we know these days as the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA). Today, there are close to 15,000 people who are 100 or over in the UK, highlighting just how things have changed. With a lot more people living a lot longer, the role of a Trade Association in the healthcare sector has become increasingly important. After being involved with the BHTA for well over 30 years as a member, on committees, contributing on panels and as a Director, I have seen lots of campaigns, initiatives, reports and have attended plenty of Section meetings. However, researching and writing this history has been a fascinating and eyeopening exercise. An awful lot has happened since 1917 and that’s why we have ended up with so many words and so many pages. However, even though a great deal is covered, it can only really be a whistle-stop tour of the enormous amount of work undertaken by so many people. There are many achievements mentioned, but many more that the Association can be proud of. I hope that you will find a number of things that will interest, intrigue and maybe surprise you as you take a look through. This is an account of a journey that started with a simple idea and a few likeminded businessmen getting around a table and which has led to an organisation representing and working for around 500 of the most respected companies in the healthcare sector. I believe that the handful of people who made it happen all those years ago would be suitably impressed with what the Association has become!

David N Russell

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British Healthcare Trades Association Suite 4.6 – The Loom 14 Gowers Walk London E1 8PY Tel: 020 7702 2141 email: info@bhta.com

www.bhta.com BHTA 100 years


Contents Our two oldest members................................................................................................................................. 9 Wednesday 13th June 1917, a very important date............................................................ 11 From the First World War to the Second, NHS drives business but price pressures appear........................................................................................................................ 16 Worker benefits, fun at the Trocadero and a threat from Pakistan............................. 17 A big change with a new name.............................................................................................................. 20 Centralised buying, standards work and a court ruling....................................................... 22 A letter from a Surgeon.................................................................................................................................. 24 Relative stability, materials in short supply, dumping issues and competition from imports................................................................................................................... 26 Training scheme, strong messages, a new Section and a BSTA tie!..................... 28 Parliamentary advances, special projects, expedition funding and qualification issues.................................................................................................................................. 32 Mail Order worries, powerchair proposal, Code comments........................................... 36 A battle lost, Bar-Coding appears......................................................................................................... 38 Communications advance, a recent move and the first Parliamentary Advisor...................................................................................................................................... 42

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Member mergers and successes, insurance scheme launch and a bomb-shell................................................................................................................................................ 45 House of Commons date, exhibition dissatisfaction and retail development.............................................................................................................................................. 47 The VAT Man, a new business plan, wheelchair distributors come on board..................................................................................................................................................... 51 Motability under the spotlight, NHS in-house concerns, Edwina Currie at the AGM........................................................................................................................... 55 Level playing fields, Early Day Motion, ‘robust’ meetings, changes in the marketplace....................................................................................................................... 58 Strong finances, wheelchair voucher scheme and discount wars............................ 62 Independent Living Awards, another new name and a ‘hard-hitting’ plan................................................................................................................................. 64 A year of change, a new Director and the Registration Scheme................................ 69 New role, Protection Scheme, Wheelchair Wise and Lifetime Achievement Award..................................................................................................................... 70 First female Chairman, selling controversy, VAT appeal and new Code of Practice..................................................................................................................................... 72 Code submitted and then approved, e-auctions issue, a move back to London................................................................................................................................ 75 Loan Stores threat, Import Duty battle, 90th anniversary celebrations.................. 80

BHTA 100 years


Rogue Traders, TCES doubts and Drug Tariff saga............................................................... 83 TCES rumbles on, Cinderella service claim and full OFT approval at last.......................................................................................................................................... 86 Industry reputation tarnished, White Paper move, Conference soundbites................................................................................................................................. 90 Coding developments, Bill discussions, First Aid standard............................................. 92 New commercial role, new commercial arm, communication and assistive technology event............................................................................................................... 94 Getting the Act together, producing an advantage, high profile speakers........................................................................................................................................ 96 Manifesto issued, Code gets thumbs up, Shopmobility move, HATS launched..................................................................................................................................................... 97 DG change, sad news, focus on children’s equipment..................................................... 99 Shopmobility developments, new qualifications, busy schedules and current issues.................................................................................................. 102 A few final thoughts........................................................................................................................................ 107 A message from the Director General............................................................................................ 111 BHTA Lifetime Service Award recipients....................................................................................... 112 Association Member Companies....................................................................................................... 114

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Acknowledgements Many thanks to Ray Hodgkinson MBE and Sarah Lepak for their guidance and their personal contributions. Thanks also to our other contributors: Stephen Blatchford, Sten Chesser, Julian Cobbledick, Graham Collyer, Colin Peacock, Kay Purnell, Philip Salt, Mike Sawers, Ian Sherwood, Peter Siddall and Anna Waugh. Many thanks for the use of photographs from Salts Healthcare, Blatchford, Mangar International, Gordon Ellis and John Weiss & Son Ltd.

BHTA 100 years


Our two oldest members‌ Taking the title of the oldest member company is Salts Healthcare. The company joined SIMA in 1934 and so have clocked up an amazing 80+ years of continual membership. Founded in Wolverhampton 1701 by brothers John and William Salt, the manufacturing range has spanned weapons, ironmongery and surgical appliances. Its best known product is the colostomy bag – developed in 1948 in conjunction with Professor Brian Brooke from Birmingham General Hospital.

Hot on the heels of Salts and just a year behind, becoming a member in 1935, is Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd. Founded in 1890, the company developed a prosthetic knee that allowed for stabilized weight bearing and flexion when walking for World War II amputees. Known as the Blatchford Stabilised Knee, it became popular worldwide and established Blatchford as an industry leader in prosthetic innovation.

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SIMA Member company John Weiss & Son Ltd exhibited the Blade Tree, which as 1,851 blades, at The Great Exhibition in 1851. John Weiss was born 1773 in Austria to a family of cutlers and surgical instrument makers. In 1826 he was made a British Citizen and was appointed ‘Razor Maker’ to the King under William IV.

BHTA 100 years


Wednesday 13th June 1917, a very important date… In 1917, Einstein applied the general theory of relativity to model the structure of the universe as a whole, Houdini performed his first ‘Buried Alive’ stunt in California and Al Capone became known as Scarface after he was slashed in the face three times by a New York hood by the name of Frank Galluccio. Also that year, William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody died, Ella Fitzgerald was born, Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicated and a small group of businessmen met to discuss the possibility of working together. A short time later, the Surgical Instrument Manufacturers Association (SIMA) was founded. It went on to become the British Surgical Trades Association (BSTA) and then the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), representing hundreds of companies, large and small, along the way. SIMA was allied with the National Union of Manufacturers which had been founded in 1915 as the British Manufacturers’ Association (BMA). It became the National Union of Manufacturers (NUM) in 1917 and, in 1961, the National Association of British Manufacturers (NABM). It was particularly strong among small and middle-sized firms and it merged with the Federation of British Industries and the British Employers’ Confederation in 1965 to form the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). It was Mr Edwin Arnold who called a group of manufacturers together on Wednesday June 13th 1917. It was the day of the deadliest German air raid on London during World War I, resulting in 162 deaths and 432 injuries. The war was proving to be a very challenging time for business, with severe material rationing problems.

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The new Association proved to be popular and grew quickly. The first AGM took place on Wednesday July 3rd 1918 at 6 Holborn Viaduct. The Chairman was Mr Arthur W Down and the Secretary was Mr G R Cheesman. Mr Down’s company was Down Bros Ltd. His Deputy Chairman was from S Maw, Son and Sons Ltd. The Treasurer was Mr Edwin R Arnold from Arnold & Sons and members of the committee came from companies such as Hawksley & Sons, Mayer & Meltzer, Allen & Hanburys and John Weiss & Sons Ltd. Many of the companies represented were already long-established. For example, John Weiss & Son Ltd had been founded in 1787. John Weiss had received Royal honours for his innovation and craftsmanship and was appointed ‘Razor Maker to the King’ by William IV. The first AGM in 1918 reported on strong The Company exhibited the ‘Blade Tree’ in The Great growth in the first 12 months. Exhibition, 1851, an exhibit which is still in existence and displayed in the Grand Hall of The Worshipful Company of Cutlers in London. In his report to the meeting, Mr Down explained that the Association: “owes its birth to the expressed intention of the Government to deal with the various industries through organised bodies, so that in all matters they are called upon to deal with they should be able to appeal to a body of representative men capable of voicing the considered opinions of the trade or industry concerned.” It appears that the people who attended the first ever meeting didn’t know each other that well as Mr Arnold comments: “I suppose there was no other trade in the country of which the members acted so independently and knew so little of each other.” Just a few days after the initial meeting, on June 27th, the group met again to agree rules and a committee and officers were elected. They also agreed at that meeting to affiliate with the NUM, which was described in the minutes as ‘a powerful body’.

BHTA 100 years


It seems that, right from the very start of the Association, strong links with Government were formed as one of the first invitations was to a meeting at the War Office. On the agenda was a discussion of a scheme referred to a being proposed in ‘The Whitley reports’. In 1917, John Henry Whitley chaired a committee which produced a report on the ‘Relations of Employers and Employees’. As smooth running of industry was vital to the war effort, good industrial relations were a priority and Mr Whitely had proposed a system of regular consultative meetings between workers and employers, known to this day as Whitley Councils. Many of them later developed into wage negotiating bodies. The new Association decided that it should ‘march with the times’ and adopt the new scheme, giving it ‘whole-hearted’ support’. It seemed a good call as when representatives attended the War Office meeting and explained that they had already decided to adopt the Whitley Report proposals, they were ‘congratulated on so promptly giving our adherence’. Also at that meeting a discussion took place about ‘large supplies’ that were wanted by the Russian Government. A large order was placed which was then taken back to the member companies and distributed among them so that the order could be delivered in record time. After the first year in existence, the Association already had nine sub-sections. The last section to be formed in the first year of operation was the Surgical Appliances Section and it seems that all the leading companies joined. It was all about the war effort at this time and a number of meetings were being held with the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Munitions and Committee on Production. The minutes of that first AGM make it clear that the members of the Association saw great potential for the industry after the war. Before the war, Germany had been the largest manufacturer of surgical instruments, producing them at lower cost than British companies. The Association felt that there would be a reluctance to buy from German companies after the war and saw an opportunity for expansion.

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The Association took on an important role early on in its existence, becoming the sole rationing authority for the trade for raw materials. One of the advantages of the role was that instead of having to send requisitions to the Ministry of Munitions, they were able to send them to the Main Section Committee where Association members felt that they were dealt with more sympathetically by ‘gentlemen who know the needs of the trade’. During the war years, the Association had a very clear policy for members, which was ‘to work for British interests and to avoid all business with firms having enemy alien connections’. There were strong words in the minutes of the first AGM relating to the employment of men of ‘enemy birth’ with the direction that no-one other than British subjects should be employed within the industry. There’s no doubt that the new Association organised itself quickly and very effectively. The Chairman commented on the ‘high degree of organisation it has achieved within a short period of twelve months, at a time when we have all been overwhelmed with work owing to the difficulties of the times’. The Association was described by another member as a ‘very thriving youngster’. After 12 months, the Association had 15 members in the main section and 70 members in the sub-sections. There were 3 new members due to be elected very shortly according to a report from Treasurer Arnold. He told the first AGM that subscriptions would have to be increased to meet the ‘heavier expenses’ that the Association were facing. A clerk for the Chairman was one of the priorities. In the first 12 months, the Association generated over £226 in subscriptions. Affiliation to the NUM cost £75 while 15 Shillings was spent on advertising, just over £8 on postage and nearly £2 on travel expenses. At the end of the first year, the Association had a balance of £45 in the bank. Concluding the first AGM the Chairman mentioned ‘an emblem’ that had been designed and which would be used to identify members. He commented: “I hope, as the years go on, we shall be able to say, this firm is a member of the Association; I know their work is good.”

BHTA 100 years


The people who made it all happen Chairman – Arthur W Down, Down Bros Ltd Deputy-Chairman – Henry T Maw, S Maw, Son & Sons Ltd Hon Treasurer – Edwin R Arnold, Arnold & Sons Hon Secretary – Mr G R Cheesman

Committee Members Dr Ernest E Greville, The Medical Supply Association Ltd T M Hawksley, Hawksley & Sons Ernest Mayer, Mayer & Meltzer J H Montague P Scarborough, Allen & Hanburys Ltd Alexr Watt, John Weiss & Son Ltd

Joint Committee of Sections E R Arnold, W Bailey, W T R Beckett, G Carsberg, H W Carsberg, H E Curtis, P E Deslandes, E Doherty, A W Down, H C Fletcher, W E Gray, T Griffiths, A L Harris, H H Jones, M J Lindsey, H Lockwood, H Moring, G Poole, P Spencer, Dr H T Maw.

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From the First World War to the Second, NHS drives business but price pressures appear… SIMA grew steadily from its conception and by the time the Second World War took place, the Association was once again very active in ensuring that products from Germany and Japan were not being imported into the country. Meetings with the Board of Trade resulted in the practices being stopped. In the early 1940’s a good deal of time was spent dealing with a purchase tax issue. Efforts of the representatives from the Association saw surgical instruments and appliances being removed from the tax. A report at the time listed 17 bodies that the Association had met with – a taste of things to come, with many hours of work being undertaken in order to achieve a result. Health secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at Park Hospital in Manchester on July 5 1948 and that had an impact on the fledging healthcare industry. By the end of the 1940’s the membership of the Orthopaedic and Surgical Appliance section of SIMA had risen to almost 100 companies. With the NHS in its infancy business seems to have been generally healthy. However, there were concerns from member companies that there had been a ‘constant whittling away of reward for endeavour’. Mr F G Ernst, Chairman in 1949 said: “I think it would be generally agreed that to be successful in life necessitates a spirit of ‘give and take’, but I did write to the Ministry and told them quite frankly that they were taking all and giving nothing. Perhaps that will produce some little better spirit.” There were also pressures on the companies supplying surgical instruments too as German firms were selling into overseas markets at what was described as very low prices. The war had been over just a few years and British companies were finding it difficult to compete with Germany, where wages were said to be some 66% less than in the UK.

BHTA 100 years


Worker benefits, fun at the Trocadero and a threat from Pakistan…. In the early 1950’s one of the main topics of conversation at meetings was the introduction of a grading scheme for labour. There was also discussion on a new payment during sickness scheme that some of the member companies, including Down Bros and Allen & Hanburys, had just introduced. The cost of the scheme was reported to be approximately 5 pounds, 5 shillings per head per year. Down Bros reported that they had seen higher rates of absenteeism but that wasn’t the case at Allen & Hanburys, where the company had a doctor and nurse in attendance. The Association was spreading its wings at this point and the President, Mr Drew, reported on a recent visit to the USA at the invitation of the American Surgical Trade Association. An annual dinner dance was taking place at this time too. In 1950 the Trocadero restaurant was the venue, a ticket costing 25 shillings and 6 pence. In the following year, members of the Association participated in a combined exhibit in the health section at the South Bank Exhibition for the Festival of Britain. Reports in minutes over the next few years paint a grim picture of shortages, power cuts, foreign competition and ever-increasing costs. Membership of SIMA also declined, although the numbers were still impressive, with 654 members in 1953, down from 712 the previous year. There were changes in the Secretariat too as Mr F C King, who had been Treasurer from 1933 to 1945 and Secretary from 1946 to 1953 retired. Miss D Sawers, who had joined the Association staff in 1929 was appointed Secretary in October 1953. She would remain in that role until her retirement in April 1963, having served 34 years at the Association.

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Mr H Guy Drew, who had served as Chairman and then President for 24 years stepped down due to ill-health and Mr G T Gamble of Allen and Hanbury’s Ltd took over as President, with Mr S J Everett of S & R J Everett & Co becoming Chairman of Council. The minutes of a meeting on April 1st 1953 for the Manufacturing Retailers Section contain just one line about a subject that would become a serious threat to the industry over the next couple of decades. The Secretary submitted a catalogue which had been issued by a firm of surgical instrument makers from Pakistan. It is likely that this would have been the first time that the majority of the trade would have seen evidence of what would become a major competitor to the UK manufacturers, as Pakistan developed the production of surgical instruments over the years. In fact, only a few years later in 1959, a member commented that certain product lines had already been ‘wiped out’ by the competition from Pakistan. In early 1953, the Association members were embroiled in a dispute with the AEU Trade Union. Mr Gamble, Chairman of the Manufacturing, Retailers, Steel and Silver Sections of SIMA read a letter from the Divisional Organiser of the AEU following the Association’s ‘complete rejection’ of a wage claim stating that in a few days’ time a strike would take place. The Union was claiming 6d an hour but an offer of 1d an hour was made to the Union. A series of meetings took place in the following days before an agreement was reached of 2d an hour and the threat of a strike was averted. It wasn’t the end of discussions with the Unions though, details of which appear in the minutes of meetings well into 1955 and it is clear that, through this period, a great deal of the focus during Association meetings was on wages and benefits. In March 1954, members were very concerned with the level of discounting in the marketplace and there was much discussion about the desirability of some form of ‘retail price maintenance’ – definitely not a discussion that would be taking place these days! Discussions about the retail price maintenance scheme would go on for some time as Association member companies found it difficult to manage and police.

BHTA 100 years


Part of the problem seems to be that not all the distributors were members and there was a view that until all the companies were in the Association, then the scheme would never be 100% effective. In 1956 items on the agendas included ‘Petrol Rationing’ and ‘The European Free Zone’. The Ministry of Fuel & Power had agreed to schedule as priority surgical technicians. The National Union of Manufacturers had issued a statement of policy in which it expressed the view that ‘some participation by the UK in the European Free Trade Zone’ was inevitable and would ultimately be of benefit to this country.’ The meeting suggested that some industries and companies would be adversely affected and set up a committee to ‘receive representations so that cases of extreme hardship could be brought to the attention of the Government without delay.’ It was also noted that the Board of Trade were anxious to bring surgical instruments and appliances within the range of industries whose prices were taken into consideration in compiling the Wholesale Price index. In December 1956, the Association received a letter from the AEU Surgical Branch requesting a meeting to discuss the possibility of a pension scheme for workers employed in the industry and the extension to three weeks of the present period of two weeks holiday with pay. These topics would take up a great deal of time over a number of years. And there would be a series of meetings in the early 1960’s with 9 members of BSTA Council and 9 representatives of the Union in attendance. By 1957, the membership had reduced once again and there were 505 members. It meant that the Association had lost 32% of its members in a 6 year period since a peak of 742 companies in 1951.

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A big change with a new name… On December 5th 1958 the Association changed its name to the British Surgical Trades Association (BSTA). In the first meeting of 1959, the Chairman refers to the amalgamation of the Federation of Surgical Instrument Manufacturers and the Surgical Instrument Manufacturers Association under the new title of The British Surgical Trades Association (BSTA), a name that many existing members will recognise from the past. One of the reasons for the name change was to bring back into the Association a number of companies that had broken away to form the Federation of Surgical Instrument Manufacturers, which was seen to divide the comparatively small industry between two Associations. Mr S J Everett said at the time: “This happy event has brought the whole of the surgical industry together once more and as such it is able to speak on all matters affecting the industry with one voice.” At that time, the newly named BSTA had a total of 485 members. We start to see Committee members during this period coming from distributors with familiar names, such as John Bell & Croyden and AC Daniels. Parking meters in London was the subject of discussion too as the Association wrote to the Ministry of Transport requesting concessions for members in the West End parking meter zone. The request was unfortunately declined!

BHTA 100 years


Also in the 50’s…. Discussions with Trade Unions included clarification when Christmas and Boxing Day fell on a non-working day. Piecework rates were another subject on agendas at this time. A conference was held with the AEU Trade Union to discuss payment for sickness and holiday pay. Elastic stockings and enamel-ware for medical, surgical and dental use could be imported into the country up to a figure of £100,000 and £130,000 respectively. Council accepted an invitation from the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland to organise an exhibition of surgical instruments at its AGM.

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Centralised buying, standards work and a court ruling…. In his report to the AGM in January 1960, Chairman CF Rapaport spoke about an issue that has been discussed many times over the years, the question of centralised buying. He told the meeting that, although the Association had received assurances from various people that it was not the intention to centralise buying, he believed the idea to be ‘far from dead’ and that the idea was being actively worked on by the Ministry. He added that he felt that such a policy would be ‘disastrous to our smaller members’ and that, ‘unless we go to much higher levels to air our complaints, we are in jeopardy.’ 1960 also saw the election of Mr G Maurice Down as Chairman of Council. His uncle, Arthur W Down had taken the chair at the very first AGM in 1918. Rules were changed this year so that all senior officers, from President to ViceChairman would be in post for a maximum of three years. In 1961 the Ministry initiated a system of ‘offered prices’ in response to tenders. When an item was rejected on ground of the cost, the contractor would have the opportunity to accept a suggested ‘penalty price’ rather than losing the option of supplying the product. The Association lost the Dental Laboratory section this year as the companies belonging to that section found that there was little connection between its work and the Association. It left the BSTA with 239 members and an additional 15 affiliated members. In 1963 the Association considered for the first time the possibility of representatives to serve on British Standard Institution Committees. It would be the start of many years of work on such committees by members of the Association. Miss Sawers retired as Secretary this year and was succeeded by Mr Richard Nunn.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Ray Hodgkinson

When I first got involved with the Association in the 1960’s it was very much a case of groups of people meeting in ‘smoke filled rooms’.


Around this time the Association found itself the subject of a court ruling regarding restrictive practices. The matter was concerned with the alleged passing of information about prices to firms in the Orthopaedic section. The Restrictive Practises Court made an order against the Association prohibiting ‘the fixing, arranging, exchanging information and/ or recommending increases in the prices of goods sold’.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

The most striking memory I have from those days is the antiquated office and equipment. Two small rented rooms within the CBI’s premises in Tothill Street were what we could afford, and some of our furniture and equipment was quite possibly as old as the Association itself. The environment was unpressured, even pedestrian at times, and the Association was one of four quite separate corporate entities which pooled their resources to rent the premises and employ the two staff.

In a meeting in 1965 there is the first mention of the need for more public relations work to promote the Association. Members were not all-together convinced of the need for this and it was agreed that no further action would be taken at that time. A couple of years later there was also a discussion about producing a ‘journal’ for the BSTA, but again, that initiative was put on hold at that time. The new Secretary was kept pretty busy as the Association moved to 21 Tothill Street in Westminster, the first committee meeting being held there in September 1965. There was some concern at the time from member companies about ‘special inducements’ being paid by non-member companies to ‘poach’ skilled workers. The problem was that non-member companies did not abide by the same aims and objects and code of conduct as member companies. Centralised buying was being discussed once again in September 1966, after the ‘Hunt Committee Report’ proposed changes to the buying system and the setting up of a Centralised Division with ‘specialist staff’.

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A letter from a Surgeon… In December 1967, the Association considered a letter that had been received from Mr Charles Heanley, Consultant Surgeon at Worthing Hospital. He wrote…. “I do not know who is responsible for the naming of surgical instruments, but I think that the wishes of the dead should be to a certain extent considered. It was originally decided between Mr Harold Gillies and Mr Archibald McIndoe that the Gillies toothed forceps should have the traverse grooving and the McIndoe forceps should have the longitudinal grooving on the handle This was so the surgeon, when he was wearing special glasses for near vision, could recognise the toothed from the non-toothed forceps, when they were placed on their sides, quite easily at a distance. First of all, some instrument maker, who was not conversant with this, put on what he called a toothed McIndoe with a longitudinal ridge and now I understand someone equally clueless has put on a non-toothed Gillies which, of course, defeats the whole object of the exercise.” Mr Heanley was a founder member of the British Association of Plastic Surgeons and went on to become the head of the department of plastic surgery at the London Hospital. Both Sir Harold Gillies and Archibald McIndoe were from New Zealand. Sir Harold became known as the father of plastic surgery and in 1946, he and a colleague carried out one of the first sex reassignment surgeries. Archibald McIndoe was Sir Henry’s cousin and developed new techniques for treating badly burned faces and hands.

BHTA 100 years


Also in the 60’s…. Bulk buying by members on behalf of other members was discussed. Council was requested to ensure a ‘closer liaison’ is established between manufacturers and hospitals. An approach was made to the British Sterilizer Manufacturers for joint working.

Memories from… Colin Peacock

The first BSTA meeting I ever attended must have been in the late 1960s. It had been called by the Department of Health with responsibilities for Orthotics, Prosthetics and Wheelchairs. It was opened with the suggestion from a seemingly very pleasant NHS gentleman that the time had arrived when we should work more together, in cooperation, for the benefit of the service. A BSTA member from an orthotic company stood up in response and stated: “how did the Department expect to work in cooperation when one of his jointed side stems for a KAFO design had been with them for three years without being passed?” The meeting erupted into accusations and confrontation with complexions on both sides becoming more florid! Welcome young man to the real world!

A scheme was submitted for the establishment of a central distributing organisation for the sale of expendable items to hospitals. There was concern as to why ‘an immense variety of patterns’ was maintained and what useful purpose the many small variations in instruments served the surgeon and the industry. An agreement was reached with the AEU Trade Union to deal with staggered holidays. Discussions take place on a number of occasions about ‘The Common Market’. The Ministry of Health wrote to the Association suggesting meeting from time to time. Members discussed the power cuts that were taking place at the time. The Association wrote to an Australian company regarding proper marking of instruments to show their origin.

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Relative stability, materials in short supply, dumping issues and competition from imports…. There was a period of relative stability in the industry and also in the Association in the late 60’s to early 70’s. In 1970, there were 226 member companies. Subscriptions received in the year ended June 1970 were £3,670. In the 1970 AGM report, it states that the Orthopaedic and Surgical Appliance Section represented well over half the trade. One of the main discussion items on all meeting agenda’s at this time was the amount of work needed to convert to metric measurements. The BSTA Export group had been very active during this period too, meeting 8 times over a 12 month period. One of the issues facing the instrument manufacturers during this period was that, according to an item in the minutes of a 1974 meeting, practically all materials were in short supply. The view was expressed that the cause was low home pricing of materials, which meant that suppliers were looking to export materials rather than sell in the home marketplace. It was reported that some UK material suppliers were quoting a 12 month delay in delivery times and the Association discussed the option of making a case to the Department of Trade.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Philip Salt

My first recollection of the Association was when, in my twenties, I visited what seemed to me to be a dusty old government type office where it appeared that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman swapped roles each year. It was all very formal, but I found that I got something out of the meeting and so I kept going to them and have now been going to them for a number of decades!


Brian Blatchford is presented with a design award in 1976 by Prince Philip.

In 1974, after membership rates being unchanged for 7 years, the cost for companies increased. A company with 1-5 employees would pay £10.00, while companies employing over 150 employees would pay £65.00 a year. Pakistan was on the agenda once again at the end of 1974 as Mr Muntz, of George Gill & Son and Chairman of the Council, reported on a recent EUROM meeting in Brussels where members were discussing the issue of combatting the ‘dumping’ of goods from certain countries and, in particular, Pakistan. In a meeting in early 1975, Japan is mentioned for the first time as being the source of ‘cheap goods’. His remarks followed his written comments in the 1970 AGM report, in which, on the subject of Pakistan imports, he wrote: “These seem to be arriving in increasing quantities. There is also a newer factor that requires thought and that is the use of the word London in a firm’s heading.” It seems that Mr Muntz and his colleagues were concerned that people might believe that they were dealing with a British company when in fact, they weren’t.

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Training scheme, strong messages, a new Section and a BSTA tie… In August 1975 the BSTA commenced discussions with the Training Services Agency (TSA) with the intention of producing a levy-grant system of financing orthotist training costs which could be applied, administered and controlled by the BSTA. By 1977, the Trust fund stood at £27,000 with some 120 contractors paying a levy. The Chairman’s address to the 1976 AGM contained some strong messages for members. Mr Eric Willcox told the meeting: “Our Government has suddenly, like Sleeping Beauty, awakened to the fact that this country makes its living from trade and manufacture and not from civil servants, public officials and social services. Whether the awakening is a kiss of life or a kiss of death, remains to be seen. As traders and manufacturers we welcome this belated enlightenment, but as suppliers to the Social Health Service we tend, also, to be a casualty: a prime target for spending cuts.” He went on to say: “The Government’s Industrial Strategy, like it’s ‘export led boom’ has exploded on us like a damp sponge.” His speech took place as bankruptcies were at the highest for many years – company failures had risen by 28% in 1975. The DHSS were suggesting the lengthening of contracts, which Mr Willcox described as ‘a recipe for commercial suicide’. The economic climate was, in fact, so poor that the decision was taken to cancel the annual Dinner Dance.

BHTA 100 years


However, the report also tells members that the year had been a good one for the BSTA with a new Section, the Rehabilitation Aids Section, being formed under the Chairmanship of Ian Doherty. During this period one of the agenda items at Council meetings was that of the Anglo-Soviet Working Party. A report suggested that ‘virtually nothing had been achieved’ and mentioned a project to establish a plastics factory in Moscow that had already taken 7 years with no date for completion. In 1977 the Association produced a ‘BSTA tie’ and minutes of a Council meeting during that year reported orders for over 130 had been received. An order for 300 ties was eventually placed. Also at this time BSTA was active in setting up a meeting to discuss a ‘Federation of Associations’. The first meeting, which took place on September 28th at St Ermins Hotel was attended by 40 people from 20 Associations. Agreement was reached to develop an annual conference. In April 1978 an article appeared in the Financial Times, relating to a report by the Disabilities Study Group which, the Association believed, clearly proposed the possibility of a State owned Orthopaedic footwear industry. A meeting was called by the BSTA with the DHSS and the Footwear Board where it was made clear that there was no case for nationalisation and useful discussions took place regarding restructuring the footwear industry.

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Memories from… Colin Peacock

Peacocks Medical Group’s primary association with the BHTA has been with our Orthotic Company and is the primary vehicle for negotiations with the NHS. My first initiative was in the early 1970s when I wrote a paper suggesting that we should move to a National Tariff for pricing and compete with each other on service. My view was based on the arrangement with Pharmacy dispensing of approved drugs. This idea received scant support, but has resurfaced on a regular basis throughout my career. Things really started to happen around the 1970s with the British Insitute of Surgical Technologists (BIST), which partnered with BSTA and represented Orthotics, Prosthetics, Surgical Instrument Makers and Dental Technicians. Up to this time Orthotists were usually technicians who had gained experience of manufacturing and had the personality and skill to work in hospital clinics dispensing prescriptions from Surgeons and Physicians. They often did not have any medically related training. BSTA/BIST ran evening lectures in London at Caxton Hall which were available to all members but were accessed mostly by people working close enough to London. A new graduate, Alan Drew, had entered the field of Orthotics with a non-related degree and recognised that in order to improve the service to patients and improve education, a professional grouping should be explored. He found a very firm ally in Ian Sherwood who was then Secretary of BSTA/BIST. They set about contacting people known in the various regions of the UK to canvas their interest in holding an exploratory meeting into creating a professional society. The meeting was held in Stourbridge on a Saturday morning and enthusiastically blossomed into The National Orthotic Committee (NOC) of BIST which continued to meet regularly.

BHTA 100 years


Also in the 70’s…. BSTA applied for membership of INTERBOR, an organisation of European Orthopaedic Trades. The BSTA Council contacted the Directorate of Supply to discuss the trend of manufacturers being asked to give cash discounts for their services to be retained. In 1970, the Ward, Theatre and Sterilizer Section reported ‘home and export business very satisfactory, in fact rather better overall than last year’. The Limb makers were in dispute with their employees, resulting in a strike lasting some weeks. BSTA developed a relationship with the American Surgical Trades Association.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

The lowlight of my time at BSTA was undoubtedly the decision by the largest of the partner organisations, BIST, to move on. It was a major disappointment at the time, but seen in retrospect, was necessary and advantageous to all involved.

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Parliamentary advances, special projects and qualification issues…. By March 1980, the cost of joining the Association had risen to £38.00 a year for the smallest companies and to £244.00 for the largest. The figures represented a 25% rise on the previous subscriptions. For the first time, the possibility of having representation in Parliament was discussed at a Council meeting in May 1980, with members agreeing the principle of lobbying MP’s. On June 30th of that year, the Association moved offices to Centre Point, 103 New Oxford Street, where it would remain until 1989. In 1981 a Study Group was set up to discuss activities in the International Year of the Disabled. The group suggested that special projects should be undertaken and recommended two schemes. The first was a prize award to a disabled person for his or her contribution to a new design, research or development in any field and the second was a BSTA publication at the end of the year containing details of new products and services. It would be funded with a contribution of £10 from each member company and with advertising space sold at £20 a page. In early 1982 the Design Council approached the BSTA with a view to the Association being the sponsor of a new Award Scheme. According to a report to Council, the likely cost was going to be in the region of £15,000. The Council agreed to sponsor the Design Awards, subject to sufficient

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Peter Siddall

Sidhil first joined the BSTA in 1982. This was as a result of the hospital bed manufacturers being under pressure from the NHS on various issues and at the time it was, as I recall, illegal for suppliers to talk to one another unless they were under the umbrella of a Trade Association. At that time the manufacturers were Sidhil, Nesbitt-Evans, Hoskins and Ellison who were part of the Doherty Group and it was Ian Doherty who suggested that we join BSTA and so the bed section was formed. We were later to be joined by two other hospital bed manufacturers, Masterpeace and Egertons.


For many years the Association AGM was held in prestigious London hotels.

members of Council securing commitments to act as guarantors from their companies. However, after a period of some months, the Design Council decided that it could not take on the organisation of such a scheme and it was eventually supported by the Royal Society of Arts. A ‘Medic Design Award Scheme’ was launched in September 1983 and BSTA’s name was used to support it. 1982 saw the formation of the Ostomy and Incontinence Products Section, with several new members resulting from the development. Another new Section, Occupational Health and First Aid Products, was also added.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

The Sectional structure of the Association was what made it attractive to many. In the words of one committed stalwart at the time, the Association’s special appeal was that it provided a forum for those with “dragons to slay or dreams to pursue”. An example was the issue over qualifications of Orthotists, which were not being applied equally across the public and private sectors and which were a major focus of attention in the early 1980’s.

In his address to members at the AGM in 1982, Council Chairman Mr Ron Frank, of Chas F Thackray, revealed a decline in membership from 198 to 192 companies. He also mentioned a concern about late payment of accounts by the NHS and painted a picture of difficult trading conditions. He told members: “The outlook is not good. I hope that when we meet again in a year’s time we will be able to report that we are alive and prospering both as individual members and as a Trade Association.”

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Memories from… Philip Salt

At the time I was involved in the Orthotic and Prosthetic Section., Orthotists didn’t have any formal qualifications and it was very much a case of ‘Sitting next to Nellie’ (a term used to describe on-the-job training by an existing member of staff). Quite rightly, it was felt that there should be a formal qualification with an approved course. This ended up being a sandwich course and I was on the very first one which was based in London. The BSTA collected a levy from manufacturers’ that was used to fund the training. The fund was used by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Training and Education Council (OPTEC). Residual funding from this time continues to be handled by the OETT (Orthotic Education and Training Trust). I am still a Trustee today.

BHTA 100 years


Mr Frank added: “We are observing a process that is spreading throughout British industry with some areas of activity declining but new areas arising and developing. If our Association is to exist and remain influential, it must itself accept change, adapt to change, identify opportunities and pursue them.” A major campaign around Orthotists qualifications had been taking up a good deal of the Association’s time during this period, with complex and lengthy discussions with DHSS taking place for many months. At the beginning of 1982 the Association issued a booklet outlining its position in detail and a number of member companies contacted their constituency MP’s. A written question was tabled in Parliament and the Minister’s reply confirmed that he had received correspondence from 24 MP’s. One of the Health Ministers involved at the time was Kenneth Clarke who met a small delegation of members in June 1984, but the meeting didn’t seem to lead to any conclusions. It was a good example of how many hours of time and focus could be taken up by an issue that would prove to be very difficult to conclude. There seemed to be a degree of frustration at the time as Mr Frank referred to the lengthy meetings: “You may well ask has it been worth all the time and the effort, my unequivocal answer would be yes. BSTA is now known and recognised at a Ministerial level and DHSS also knows that we do not give up easily and are prepared to pursue our legitimate interests vigorously. I am not a prophet of gloom, but have a firm belief that there will be other issues to be fought in the years ahead. We have learned a great deal from the experience, one of the most important lessons is that we must be pro-active and not We moved to the infamous Centre purely reactive in such matters.” Point building at the junction of By the end of 1984, the number of company New Oxford Street and Tottenham Court members had crept over 200, with 202 being Road, still as tenants of the CBI, where, recorded. as a growing Association, we doubled our staff to four and were able to renew all our equipment.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

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Mail Order worries, powerchair proposal, Code comments… The marketplace was developing rapidly in the early 80’s but not everyone was happy with the way that it was going. A complaint was received from a company in 1984 in which the selling of wheelchairs and walking aids to the public by mail order was described as being ‘unfortunate’. The company concerned had drafted a press release condemning the provision of these products by mail order and asked that BSTA issue it in the name of the Association. It was suggested by Council that it be referred to the Rehabilitation Aids Section. It seems that the Section did not support the proposal to issue the press release, but chose to write to the company which had been advertising the products through mail order, to point out the hazards involved. In early 1985 the first meeting took place with a group of powered wheelchair suppliers to explore the feasibility of establishing a new BSTA Section, primarily to represent the interests of those companies supplying wheelchairs through the Motability scheme. By May of that year, there was a formal request for a new Section, with the potential for around 10 new I went to my first BSTA (mobility) member companies. section meeting in 1986. In a report to Council in 1985, David Boxen, on The primary topic of dialogue was behalf of the new Section, suggested that the UK Motability, which was the dragon-tomarket for powered ‘pavement vehicles’ stood at slay of the time. It struck me that the around 8,000 units a year. He confirmed that it meetings were always better attended had been the need to secure improvements in the and more lively when the industry terms for Motability sales that had initially brought sector had a common purpose the mobility product manufacturers together and like this. then recognise that a new Section of BSTA would be an option.

Memories from… Julian Cobbledick

BHTA 100 years


Bill and Elaine Ellis of Gordon Ellis (left) at a show in the 80’s with a brand new invention, the Derby plastic raised toilet seat. They would be presented with a joint Lifetime Achievement Award years later.

The Association continued to grow, with 211 member companies at the end of 1985, the highest amount for some years. In his AGM comments, Chairman of Council, Jack Vander-Molen made a suggestion for the first time that would become very important to member companies. He said that, as many members now had sales direct to the public, it may well illustrate the need for a Code of Practice to promote good commercial practice and ethics in such dealings. By 1986 a number of voluntary Codes of Practice were being discussed and introduced in a number of the Sections. For example, 22 companies in the Rehabilitation Aids Section had undertaken to comply with a Code. Explaining the thinking behind a Code for the Powered Mobility Vehicles Section, David Boxen told Council members that Lord Snowden had made some ‘highly adverse comments’ on the industry with ‘some firms making dubious claims’. Lord Snowden’s remarks were probably the first of a series of comments over a number of years that would eventually lead to some very negative exposure for the mobility industry and see BHTA step up its plans to have a Code of Practice recognised and approved to support and protect member companies. There was also concern at the time that a number of Sections would be referring to the ‘Code of Practice’, when in fact there would be a number of versions with different provisions.

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A battle lost, Bar-coding appears… The issues around Orthotist qualifications, which had been rumbling on for a number of years, finally came to a conclusion in late 1986, an example of how one issue could take up a huge amount of resources over a long period. For BSTA, what was described as ‘a fight for equity in the matter of qualifications of those supplying appliances’ resulted in a disappointing conclusion as Jack Vander-Molen explained to members at the 1986 AGM. “We fought a

One of the tables at the AGM Dinner in 1986.

BHTA 100 years


Mangar International was one of the companies recognised for product development. Here is the team in 1987.

tremendous fight for what we considered to be a matter of principle. Let there be no mistake about this, a great effort was mounted in BSTA over a number of years and volumes of papers will attest to the work load. But, in the end, the battle became unwinnable.� Another development that BSTA was keeping a close eye on at the time was the newly published McColl Report. Professor Ian McColl had led a review to report on the adequacy, quality and management of the various services received by patients in the Artificial Limb and Appliance Centres and on the roles of the staff of the Centres, the NHS and manufacturers, having regard to the need to promote efficiency and cost effectiveness. The main recommendations made were the need for change in organisation and management, the need to improve contracting arrangements and the importance of co-ordinating the various services users required for effective rehabilitation. A subject that is very much on the agenda today appears for the first time as a discussion item in October 1987 when Bar Coding was mentioned. It was agreed to look at setting up a working party and to enquire about work already undertaken in the USA.

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Memories from… Stephen Blatchford

I joined Blatchford’s in September 1985, with a view of spending three years learning the business before taking over from my father. Unfortunately, within 3 months he had passed away and that was right in the middle of the challenges thrown up by the McColl report and so I was thrown into the deep end both with the company and also the BSTA. My father had made submissions to the McColl committee and then in April 1986 the Department of Health pre-empted the McColl report with a number of policies and we had some very difficult discussions, both as a company and also as the Association. In 1987, the Disablement Services Authority (DSA) was set up by the DoH with a remit to modernise the services by way of competitive tendering and to move the services from being part of the DoH to the NHS in a four year period. That was a very difficult period when the Association represented the common interests of a number of competing companies. A legal challenge to the changes was made by one company and lost and the competitive tendering move completely changed the industry. BSTA provided a single place for the government to come and talk to the industry and we did get them to listen to what we were saying on a few issues. When the DSA was in place, then the BSTA had a lot more influence and we were able to get them to see sense on a number of subjects. More recently, in the numerous meetings we have had about tariffs, BHTA has been able to positively influence the outcomes too.

BHTA 100 years


Memories from… Colin Peacock

Each regional representative of The National Orthotic Committee (NOC) was challenged to break down their inter-company rivalry, which had existed with a vengeance at that time and create local meetings which had a professional interest and educational agenda. At the same time as this was occurring questions were being tabled in the Houses of Parliament relating to patients dismay of bad Orthotic services. Two influential Surgeons: Gordon Rose in England and George Murdoch in Scotland decided to do something about it and started initiatives to educate the Prosthetists and Orthotists who were at the patient interface. George Murdoch persuaded authorities to find finance to set up the Prosthetic and Orthotic Faculty at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Gordon Rose established finance to set up an HND course based at Paddington, London followed by a second centre in Salford. The next aim was to ensure that people entering the professions of Prosthetics and Orthotics should be put through an academically recognised route. A rule was created by which anyone who had been working in the professions for a period of time was exempt from training, otherwise it was necessary to embark on one of the courses. This was the so called ‘Grandfather Clause’. The NOC of BIST was now well-established and functioning well. They were given the brief of examining the CV of each person applying to enter the profession by the ‘Grandfather route’ to verify the level of experience and give a licence to practice. Throughout this period members of NOC met every six weeks in Stourbridge on a Saturday to authorise and investigate these applications with queries being referred back to regions. Five BSTA companies and two NHS Trusts were selected to be training establishments and training officers selected to be responsible for the practical element of the sandwich course in Paddington. These officers were then grouped into the National Orthotic Training Officers Group (NOTOG) and had to attend annual obligatory training courses. This was all governed by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Training and Education Council (OPTEC) which was chaired by a person selected by the Privy Council. This was a significant way forward to creating the Prosthetic and Orthotic profession. At various periods, I was honoured to chair all these groupings and salute all those members of BSTA, BIST, Surgeons and Mechanical Engineers who were involved with such huge commitment of energy and time.

” 41


Communications advance, a recent move and the first Parliamentary Advisor…. The first member’s newsletter, entitled The Bulletin, was produced in July 1989. Council Chairman at the time, Peter Siddall of Sidhil wrote that it was critical that communications in the organisation improved and that the bulletin was the first step ‘in a determined effort to keep members informed at all times.’ President Jack Vander-Molen suggested that the issues the Association was dealing with remained very much the same as they were when it was first formed – ‘A reactionary role against bureaucracy and short-sighted legislation’. He also highlighted the trend for mergers in the industry and reflected that there was a move away from ‘Saville Row bespoke products’ to ‘Off the peg appliances’. In his article, Mr Vander-Molen mentions the Cold War and hopes that, ‘maybe a few less rockets will enable a few more hospitals to be erected.’ The Association had recently moved, from Centre Point in central London, to a new home in Sevenoaks, Kent. It was the first time in its 70 year history that the Association had its own home. According to Secretary Ian Sherwood, there were a number of reasons for the move. They included inadequate space, no security of tenure, no control over accommodation costs and with a substantial increase expected the following year. After a number of years considering the option, BSTA decided to appoint its first Parliamentary advisor, Tony Baldry, MP for Banbury. It was a time of high interest rates and when companies were preparing for an open European marketplace. There was an appeal to member companies to make a voluntary contribution towards the cost of the advisor and 78% of member companies had supported that.

BHTA 100 years

The first member’s newsletter appeared in July 1989.


Jack Vander-Molen from V-M Orthopaedics Ltd, was involved in the Association for many years. His son, Paul Vander-Molen, was an Explorer who conceived and carried out a plan to cross Iceland using Kayak and Microlight, resulting in an award winning documentary on Channel 4. Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with, and died from leukaemia after which Jack set up the Paul Vander-Molen Foundation to assist Leukaemia research and treatment, enable disabled adventurers to realise their aspirations and to assist explorers in the search for new expedition techniques. In 1988 the Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) was formed to provide a focal point for the British based healthcare industry and Trade Associations. BSTA would have a representative on the ABHI Council, Mr Ron Kendrew. Speaking at the AGM that year, Chairman Peter Siddall said: “Your Council recognised the need for an organisation which could speak for the Healthcare Industry as a whole and the ABHI seemed to be the best placed to do this.” A Working Party on future development was set up at this time and it recommended four initiatives that it believed would enhance the Association’s standing. They were: • Retaining a Parliamentary Advisor • Relocation of the Secretariat to Sevenoaks in Kent • Introduction of a twice yearly newsletter • Membership of ABHI or EUCOMED It was estimated that the cost of the four initiatives would be around £18,500 a year, which would represent an almost 50% increase in subscriptions. A debenture scheme had been proposed by the Working Party to raise the funds. It could also be seen that the make-up of the marketplace was changing at this time, as 11 members had been lost in the year due to an increase in the acquisitions and mergers activity rate.

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Also in the 80’s…. In December 1986, The Powered Mobility Vehicles Section Chairman was interviewed on Radio 4 about the Section’s Code of Practice. In 1987, Huntleigh Medical, for the second time and BEC Mobility received the Queen’s Award for Technology. A new version of the BSTA Tie, which was 70% silk, was described as ‘giving a greatly improved knot’. BSTA became a member of the newly formed Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI) in 1988. President Jack Vander-Molen represented BSTA at the opening of a new equipment centre for the Disabled Living Foundation. At that time, the DLF was seeing 10,000 visitors a year and handling over 50,000 enquiries.

Memories from… Peter Siddall

The move to Webbs Court in Sevenoaks was a significant moment as previously BSTA had led a rather gypsy existence having had offices in Centre Point and Tothill Street. The northern contingent on the BSTA Council were somewhat concerned about travelling to deepest Kent but it was only half an hour on the fast train from Charing Cross so this was deemed not too onerous.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

In 1989 we moved to a home of our own in Sevenoaks where the staff grew to five in attractive, newly refurbished offices with excellent access to road, rail and air transport links.

BHTA 100 years


Member mergers and successes, insurance scheme launch and

a bomb-shell…

1990 produced a big challenge for the Association when the Department of Health issued a statement that, within 12 months, the remuneration of Appliance Contractors would be brought in line with that of Chemists. This came as a bomb-shell to the Appliance Contractors as it would have reduced turnover by around 25%. The BSTA swung into action with the Chairman and Secretary setting up a working group that produced a comprehensive response to the proposals. It resulted in the proposed changes being put on hold, after the Association acted quickly and effectively on behalf of the industry. An insurance scheme was launched in February 1990 that is still in existence to this day. The scheme was launched in conjunction with Insurers Alexander Stenhouse & Partners and guaranteed a saving of 20% on premiums. It was reported shortly afterwards that an average saving of 31% was being achieved, with savings of over £100,000 being made by 13 companies. These days there are over 50 companies using the scheme’s successor. The first ever BSTA Conference took place this year, with 80 delegates attending the event at Heythrop Park. According to Vice Chairman of BSTA Council, Robert Gittins, there was clearly some tension between manufacturers and NHS buyers as he wrote: “Procurement minds seem still to be convinced that supply industries drive Rolls-Royces on the back of the poor NHS and patients. Such minds will continue to administer much pain on the suppliers whilst still professing to alleviate the pain on the patients.” Another topic that is prevalent in the reports of the time is the issue of Health Authority Trading. It first became a discussion point for the BSTA when Disabled

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Living Centres started to sell products and there was much talk about ‘uneven playing fields’ and questions about whether or how all the costs of doing business were being handled. It seems that the food industry was also dealing with the same issue and an item in the Bulletin explained that The Federation of Wholesale Distributors were seeking the help of manufacturers to prevent Regional Health Authorities from ‘cutting into the business’. The view was that it was probably good news that another industry was being threatened in the same way and it was understood that Ministers were now taking notice and that Ministerial advice would be issued to Health Authorities. The BSTA views on Health Authority Trading were widely quoted at the time and there was an article in the Financial Times entitled ‘Suppliers lose patience’ and another in the Daily Telegraph with the headline ‘NHS cheap goods hit companies’. Clearly the industry and, in particular, the surgical trade was facing constant challenges during this period. One member put it down to ‘The Ministry, blinkered by its intent to be seen to be affecting savings’. He went on to say that he believed the Ministry ‘often moved the goalposts, regardless of the long-term harm it would do to the industry’ and that ‘great damage was done to the morale of the surgical trade and the impetus for fresh investment withered away and almost died’. The 1990’s were dominated by

Memories from… Julian Cobbledick

There was also a change to the Parliamentary Advisor in 1990 as Tony Baldry was appointed as a Minister at the Department of Energy. Dr Ian Twinn MP was his successor.

BHTA 100 years

the advent of CE Marking and my company allowed me to work tirelessly to ensure the test procedures for wheelchairs and scooters suited the UK made products. That suddenly ushered in the Pan-European standard and got rid of the need for local standardstesting in each continental country…. it saved hundreds of thousands of pounds for exporting manufacturers.


Memories from… Sten Chesser

When I was MD at Everest & Jennings my BSTA Mobility Vehicles file was labelled…ANTI-MOTABILITY. The file started before there was any Mobility Vehicle Section but was the cause of the creation of the Section. When Lord Goodman retired from chairing Motability, his position was taken over by Sir Jeffrey Stirling (now Lord Stirling). He wrote to all manufacturers of mobility vehicles stating that Motability would henceforward raise the discount that we all gave from 5% to 15%, which, he stated, was what they got from car manufacturers. E&J (Everest & Jennings) could not give such a discount and others confirmed they could not, so a meeting of all manufacturers was arranged. We were a new group of managers at different competing companies and we had no reason to trust and many reasons not to trust each other. But, after much cautious sparring we eventually agreed to independently advise Motability why our company could and would not raise its discount. I remember that being ‘signed in blood’ was mentioned. The moral of this story confirms the adage ‘a trade organisation is created either to fight dragons, or to pursue dreams’.

” 47


House of Commons date, exhibition dissatisfaction and retail development… The annual luncheon for 1991 was at a new venue. After many years at the RAC Club, the Association had secured the Harcourt Grill at the House of Commons, with Parliamentary Advisor Dr Ian Twinn sponsoring the event. The event quickly sold out and it would be the first of many events to be held at the House of Commons over the years. Another issue which was beginning to appear on the meeting agenda’s was a level of dissatisfaction with Naidex, the only major exhibition in the industry at the time. It attracted the attention of the BBC radio programme ‘Does he take sugar’ on which Secretary Ian Sherwood was interviewed. It was the second interview in a few weeks and followed a discussion on the effects of the recession and new product innovation in the industry. In a survey by the Association, 55 companies had indicated that they were not satisfied with the organisation of Naidex. However, the BSTA struggled to arrange a meeting with the organisers due to ‘pre-conditions’ that were unable to be met. That triggered a meeting in Coventry where interested parties came together to hear a presentation I started in a newly created from another exhibition company. Shortly after position, Committee Secretary, that, the Naidex organisers did agree to meet when I joined the Association in 1991. and the result was the introduction of the first Back then it was the norm for me to Exhibitor Committee to work alongside the show find that I was the only woman in the organisers. room at meetings and it has been really A good example of how quickly the industry and encouraging to see that change, with the marketplace was developing in the early 90’s increasing pace, to the point where came as retailer Keep Able was featured in the four of our Sections are currently chaired by women.

Memories from… Sarah Lepak

BHTA 100 years


The team for a London to Brighton Bike ride. Sten Chesser (Keep Able), Peter Salt (Salt & Sons), BSTA Secretary Ian Sherwood, Peter Greenwood (Sidhil) and Philp Salt (Salt & Sons). The team completed the 58 mile trip and raised ÂŁ1600 for the British Heart Foundation.

Bulletin having raised an additional ÂŁ1 million to fuel expansion plans. The investment came from County Natwest Ventures and 3i. The company had opened a 10,000 square foot retail outlet in Brentford in 1989, with a head office in Wellingborough. An issue that retailers such as Keep Able were grappling with at the time related to VAT. The Rehabilitation Products Section was leading the discussions and trying to clarify the confusion as local offices applied different interpretations to the regulations which had the potential to create artificial competition, with one outlet charging VAT on an item and another not. The number of member companies was now 184 but with 330 section representatives - a number of companies being members of several sections.

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Lord Snowden at one of the early Naidex exhibitions. He would have something to say about the state of the industry!

In 1992 a business plan was produced by a small group of Council members to identify the direction that the Association should take in the future. The plan was presented to members at a meeting following the AGM that year and was billed as ‘a plan for change’. It aimed to ensure that BSTA focussed clearly in its role – ‘to support the particular needs of firms in our sector of the industry – suppliers of services and equipment for those with special physical needs.’ It was the first time that a business plan had been presented to members and one of the main proposals in the plan was a name change. The Council favoured ASPN – Association of Suppliers for Special Physical Needs. The name change proposal didn’t get support from member companies, with very different responses from the various sections. Some were very much in favour, some very much against and some didn’t have a view either way. The decision was made to keep the BSTA name but that the logo should be updated. However, much of the business plan was accepted and implemented in the following months.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Sten Chesser

At the first BSTA Council meeting I attended I was struck by the number of eponymous companies. They out-numbered ordinary ones. They included Messrs Salt, Poole, Thackray, Bullen, Siddall - I felt very small without any ancestors being in the trade.


The VAT Man, a new business plan, wheelchair distributors come on board… In 1993, VAT regulations were taking up a good deal of the Association’s time. Sten Chesser, Managing Director of Keep Able Ltd was heavily involved in discussions with HM Customs and Excise on behalf of members. Sten was Chairman of the Rehabilitation Products Section at the time and he wrote in a report: “It is very difficult to explain to Mrs Smith that she must pay VAT on a walking stick when her friend in another county need not.” A meeting was held with the ‘Central VAT Office’ alongside Charles Moore OBE, Director of the DLF and Mary Holland, Assistant Director of RADAR. Later, a group met with Sir John Cope, the Paymaster General when Maggie Winchcombe, Chairman of the Disabled Living Centres Council, also attended.

Memories from… Ian Sherwood

The highlight of my involvement with the Association was the decision by the British Association of Wheelchair Distributors to join forces with us. It cemented the transition from the old shape of the membership to the newly evolved organisation serving a much wider segment of healthcare.

Sidney Muntz MBE was awarded a Distinguished Service Certificate from BSI in 1993. Sidney, Executive Chairman of S Murray & Co, was involved with the Association for several decades and had been Chairman and President. Here he is presented with the certificate by Ron Kendrew who was Chairman of BSTA Council.

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Although the way ahead wasn’t 100% clear and companies would have to work closely with their local VAT offices for some degree of clarification, Sten wrote after the meeting: “At least we now have VAT HQ not only admitting that not all decisions have to be taken locally, but they appear willing to try and get some uniformity and sense behind the decisions.” The VAT Office were also able to allay the fear held by some members that that there was a slow but steady elimination of VAT relief on products to help people with special needs. The AGM, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, was very well attended. Editor of the Bulletin, Jack Vander-Molen wrote: “Maybe someone can remember, deep from the Association’s history, a better attended event – but I have spoken to several people with experience of BSTA going back 20 years and they confirm that 1992 sets the records.” In fact, 143 people were at the meeting, an increase on the figure from the previous year of 110. The big news at the October AGM was the decision by the British Association of Wheelchair Distributors (BAWD) to dissolve their Association and recommend membership of BSTA to their members. A year or so before, the British Association of Wheelchair Distributors (BAWD), under the Chairmanship of Geoff Seal from Beard Bros, had taken up an offer of secretarial services from BSTA. A short time after the initial agreement for support, the BAWD Committee recommended to their members a merger with BSTA. Just an hour before the BSTA AGM, the necessary resolutions were taken at a BAWD EGM and the merger was confirmed, much to everyone’s delight.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Julian Cobbledick

Shortly after our merger with BAWD, I became section chair and we started to get meaningful sales data, so each member could track their UK market share and see whether a category (eg 3 wheeled scooters) was expanding or shrinking. Two more dragons before the nineties were our work with the Department of Transport, where we created the new “Class Three Vehicle” structure and associated Parliamentary legislation. That was followed by the wheelchairaccessible taxi and in-car tie-down outcomes and standards.


It meant that BSTA welcomed more than 70 new members, taking the total to 260, a 40% increase since the 1992 AGM.

Geoff Seal Right), Chairman of BAWD at the AGM when the organisation joined the Association. He is pictured with BSTA’s Ron Kendrew.

Memories from… Kay Purnell

When I started attending the BHTA Rehabilitation Section meetings in the mid 90’s one of the hot topics of conversation was the disparity in VAT exemption for disability equipment across the UK. At the time we had ADL sales operations in Glasgow and Birmingham and had to produce different sets of literature to accommodate different VAT exemption agreements.

Peter Smith of Ross Care Centres, in Liverpool, was a key figure in BAWD and he wrote about the merger at the time, saying that it was a build-up of both internal and external pressures that, in his opinion, had meant the merger was inevitable and desirable. He wrote: “The success of BAWD in its growth had meant an increase in Committee time spent on routine administration which made it clear that a more professional and full time secretariat function was needed.” He also suggested that the market was becoming more demanding. “NHS reforms in the wheelchair service, changes in government legislation, wheelchairs standards, a huge growth in both suppliers and customers, Motability – all these factors were making the market more complex. Some of these issues also involved a wider group than BAWD members. The need to consult with and act with a larger group was becoming apparent if BAWD was to maintain its influence and have its voice heard.”

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Memories from… Sten Chesser

Until the re-interpretation of part of the VAT laws it was very possible for identical items to have VAT or no VAT. The decision to impose VAT was taken by the local VAT man in the area in which they were sold. The same item could be rated for VAT differently in Wellingborough, London or Nottingham. At that time Keep Able were in competition with Nottingham Rehab and Homecraft with all of us selling nationally. Keep Able had a mail order catalogue based in Northamptonshire and a retail shop in London. The situation was clearly a farce. The same product was available in different catalogues priced either with or without VAT. As MD of Keep Able I raised this with my local VAT men (Northamptonshire and London) and was told that they could do nothing but apply the law. As Chairman of the Rehabilitation Products Section I raised the question with the VAT head office in Waterloo. Somewhat to my surprise I was invited to Head Office. I went with reinforcements in the person of the chief of RADAR. We explained, they listened and told us that we had a point. But, they said, they could do nothing about. They suggested we needed to see the Postmaster General, so I went to see Sir John Cope. I explained, he listened then explained that it would take too much Parliamentary time to change the actual law but he was empowered to change the interpretation of the law by re-drafting the interpretation and offering new guidance to local VAT offices and, as I seemed to know all about it I should assist them in writing the new guidance. So I wrote it. I then raised another point about adjustable beds and rising chairs. They said that adjustable beds were a difficult area with many people buying them just for personal comfort. I produced a list of the customers to whom we had sold such beds which included the name of a peer who knew Sir John and who was severely disabled. Sir John agreed that adjustable beds and chairs should be exempt from VAT. I was taken aback by the simplicity and speed of reaction of the Civil Service and of Government when faced with a reasonable request from a representative of an approved Association.

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Motability in the spotlight, NHS in-house concerns, Edwina Currie at the AGM… A headline in the Bulletin of ‘Motability Scheme – will it survive?’ introduced what was the next challenge for the Association in 1994. Changes to the Motability scheme were causing concern for members. In 1994 the scheme was supplying around 180 wheelchairs each month, a figure which had increased 100% on the previous year thanks to heavy promotion of the scheme by the industry. There had been a number of meetings over the past months with representatives of BSTA, BAWD, Motability and Motability Finance Ltd (MFL) from which the Association had believed the future of the scheme to be in some doubt. One of the key issues was a belief by MFL that it could no longer absorb the losses that were being incurred on premature terminations of hire purchase agreements, which MFL described as being ‘horrendous’. BSTA felt that the buy-back situation should be regarded as an operating cost, rather than a loss and should be covered by the overall revenue to the Scheme. MFL wanted to see a ‘full recourse agreement’ with suppliers of the product being obliged to re-purchase in the event of an early termination. The ongoing discussions meant that what was described as ‘a huge investment of time’ was made by the Chairman of the Mobility Vehicles and BAWD sections. If the Motability ‘issue’ was gaining the attention of the companies that supplied and sold mobility equipment, the Orthotics section had a challenge of its own. The winner of the DLF / BSTA Independent Living Design Award in 1994 was the Sapphire Seating System from Ariadne (Malvern) Ltd.

Peter Bullen, Managing Director of Charles S Bullen had taken over as Chair of the Section at the end of 1993. He wrote: “The most threatening issue was the round of visits to the trade by

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NHS Supplies. They seemed to want to discuss a series of financial performance measures which few contractors had the accountancy skills to understand.” The Section ran a financial skills workshop which was successful and the NHS Supplies visits were reported to have gone well and were ‘amicably conducted’. However, the Section was also battling against the NHS in another way. Peter wrote: “It seems to the members of the Committee that the NHS has come to a view that in-house service is always their best option.” Section members had seen a trend towards in-house recruitment. Peter added: “It is clearly time for the trade to respond, before it is too late, with a solid demonstration of the strengths of the service provided by the private sector.” He reported that a firm of Public Relations Consultants had been approached for advice and would be making proposals. Following the AGM in 1994, which attracted 120 people, a debate entitled ‘Influencing Change’ was held with a view on getting members thoughts on the next stage of development for the BSTA. The principal speaker at the event was Edwina Currie MP. She told the meeting: “The way BSTA goes about its business seems to me exactly right. In fact, you are to be congratulated on the care and integrity with which you operate.” She added: “Speaking as a former Minister, I found it worthwhile and interesting to meet Trade Associations and groups who had a point of view to put, particularly if complex legislation was in the offering. Civil servants are only as good as their brief and as the number of hours in the day will permit. They cannot know everything. If, however, proposals are scrutinised in detail by those who will be affected: if regulations are examined by those who will have to make them work – then we might get better law.” At the end of 1994 we see the first mention of a Wheelchair Voucher Scheme. A note in the Bulletin suggests that ‘The one outcome that seems the most unlikely is a national prescriptive scheme, with the preferred option most likely to be enabling legislation that leaves local authorities free to make their own choices’. Income from subscriptions, mainly due to the influx of new members from BAWD had risen to £119,000, a rise of 31% on the previous year.

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Memories from… Colin Peacock

As new graduates were fed into the clinical environment, an inequality of qualification between the Scottish Honour Degree graduates and the rest of the UK was recognised. This resulted in the five year HND course moving to a four-year Honours degree course based in Salford with graduates able to practice in both Prosthetics and Orthotics. At that time, there were two representative professional organisations. Graduates from Strathclyde mostly joined the Association for Prosthetists and Orthotists (APO), graduates from London and Salford joined BIST. The next stage of professional recognition was to seek formal regulation by an independent body who held and could withdraw, the licence to practice. Two options were available: The Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) or, creating an independent route specifically for P&O. The latter proved to be prohibitively expensive and so CPSM was chosen. As a condition of entry: CPSM demanded that there could only be one professional association and demanded that BIST and APO merged. Whilst most members of BIST were at peace with their association with BSTA, members of APO were adamant that the new association could not under any circumstances be tainted by connection with the trade. This view began to take hold and no compromise could be found resulting in the formation of the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) and, with the departure of all prosthetist and orthotist members, the eventual demise of BIST. This was a difficult time for everyone who had worked so hard for BIST. It was however the start of a new era attracting massive energy from the newly formed and youthful BAPO. At their first ‘Scientific meeting and AGM’ they attracted over 1,000 delegates from a total working population of approximately 770 P&O practitioners. The profession was accepted as a member of CPSM and apart from changes in names and faces, this is where we are today.

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Level playing fields, Early Day Motion, ‘robust’ meetings, changes in the marketplace… The desire for ‘level playing fields’ was once more on the agenda in 1995, with the Association looking closely at in-house NHS units and how they competed with private companies. In fact, this was the fourth year of lobbying on this issue. A report, produced by John Hutton, had been commissioned by a BSTA working group. In response, the NHS Executive had issued a Health Service Guideline concerning NHS Trading Agencies in which it stated – ‘Ministers are clear that the NHS at each level should focus its management effort and resources on core statutory healthcare functions; it follows that significant levels of trading in non-core of business support services should normally be conducted in the commercial sector’. Stephen Blatchford, Managing Director of Chas A Blatchford & Sons Ltd wrote at the time: “I believe that BSTA can view this as a significant victory following the hard work we have put in raising the issue in the public domain. Let us hope that these guidelines lead to more sense in the way that NHS in-house units compete with outside private companies.” In February of this year, 220 MP’s signed an Early Day Motion which called for – ‘The provision of indoor/outdoor powered wheelchairs to all permanently disabled adults and children requiring them for independent mobility, in accordance with

BHTA 100 years


the recommendations made by a DSS Working Party chaired by Professor, now Lord, Ian McColl in 1986’. The Muscular Dystrophy Group was spearheading the ‘Batteries Not Included’ campaign on behalf of 150 other charities. The charity said that its recent survey of Wheelchair Service Philip Salt, Chairman of the Council, opens the AGM in 1995 at the London Hilton. Managers had demonstrated that 93% of Wheelchair Service Centres made no provision for indoor/outdoor powered wheelchairs. Costs estimated by the Wheelchair Service Managers were £13,600,000 which, the charity said, was significantly lower than the Department of Health estimate to extend the service which was £70,000,000. Developments in the marketplace, such as the 1993 Community Care Act were resulting in changes in the marketplace such as purchasing and supply to and through Social Service Departments.

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One example was when Huntleigh Nesbit Evans won a tender for ‘Home Loan activity’ for Oxfordshire Social Services. However, there was a degree of controversy as many of the indirect suppliers to Oxfordshire found themselves to be direct competitors to the new buying agent. As a result, the next meeting of the Rehabilitation Products Section had been brought forward and a larger room had been booked. The item in the Bulletin signs off with – ‘The meeting should be interesting!’ When it took place, the meeting was described as ‘probably the most robust ever held’. Over 40 companies were there with Mark Ball, Director and General Manager of HNE Community Care, explaining the process of the contract award, after which he was ‘rigorously questioned’. Clearly members felt that this was a serious issue as letters on the subject were written to the President of the Board of Trade, Cabinet Ministers, all MPs and most of the Health & Social Service Authorities in the UK. The result was, that not only was the Oxfordshire contract investigated by the Office of Fair Trading, but so was the whole supply of disability aids to the community care market. The OFT recommendation was that no action should be taken. Chairman of the Rehabilitation Products Section, Sten Chesser, wrote: “We learnt that rather than reject the changes inherent in contracting out, we could appreciate with time not only would the elderly and disabled benefit from significant improvements in the level of service provided, but that the volume of products delivered into the marketplace will also significantly increase to the advantage of all suppliers to the contract.” 150 members attended the AGM at the Hilton Hotel in London. Nick Brown MP gave what Chairman Philip Salt described as ‘a fascinating account of the Labour Party’s plans for the NHS’.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from…Philip Salt

“Chairing the Association is an extraordinarily stimulating but difficult thing to do as the majority of the people you are dealing with are at the top of their game in their business and so you have a wonderful generator of ideas. It is impossible to use them all as there are so many. I found it very fascinating and educational getting to know all the other Sections and saw that the benefit of cross-fertilisation of ideas was very powerful.”


This was also the year when the Association formed a new partnership with Elwell Insurance. The company took over the running of the Insurance Scheme from Alexander & Alexander. The Council had reviewed the arrangement and decided that a smaller, more focussed brokerage would be more suitable for members’ needs. In the Orthotics Section, retrospective rebates of commission payments were on the agenda and relating to the orthotics contract from NHS Supplies. It seems that the vast majority of orthotics contractors were opposed to the introduction. President Ron Kendrew reported on an issue of interest to the Ostomy and Incontinence Manufacturers Section. For 10 years, BSTA had led a campaign to persuade the Department of Health (DoH) to spell out the criteria used to determine whether a new product should be listed on the Drug Tariff by publishing a set of guidelines for industry. Then, suddenly, the DoH announced that the entire Drug Tariff system was to be reviewed and a new system implemented in a matter of months. BSTA were once again very much part of the discussions, despite a mix-up. Ron Kendrew wrote: “At the meeting where the review announcement was made, an administrative mix up meant that only four trade association members were present. Rather opportunistically, the DoH made it very clear that, in the future, they wished to only deal with this group of four rather than the larger group that had previously attended meetings.” Although Ron reports that there is “little in the way of specific policies to which industry should object” he is clearly not fully confident that this is the end of the matter as he refers to the work done by the Association in the past, adding: “I’m keeping the final draft of the guidelines document on file. It took 10 years to write and was never published; but I have a feeling that a future BSTA working group might have need of it.”

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Strong finances, wheelchair voucher scheme and discount wars…. Strong finances were reported at the AGM in 1996, with 288 members of the Association. The Association issued a discussion paper on the new Wheelchair Voucher Scheme. The concept had been approved by Ministers in February of this year. One of the aims of the paper was to encourage the NHS to use private sector wheelchair supply services where appropriate and not to attempt to duplicate them. A news item stated: “The new schemes offer a range of opportunities for collaboration between Service Managers and Wheelchair Dealers to the advantage of users.” The guidelines on vouchers were due to be published in the September of 1996. A couple of years after it had first surfaced, Wheelchair Vouchers became a reality and were implemented in April 1996. There was a plan to spend £50m over the next four years. BAWD Section members, led by Section Chairman Donald Blatchford of Mobility Showcase attended the launch at the Copthorne Tara hotel in London. The voucher scheme was to be phased in over the following four years. Representatives from BSTA had played a big part in the discussions about the scheme and would have ongoing opportunities to give feedback as the details were worked out. Trade discounts were another topic of some controversy this year. It isn’t often that you hear people complaining when they are given more, but this was the case here.

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Donald Blatchford (left) at the launch of the Wheelchair Voucher Scheme

Over the years, discounts to dealers for scooters and powered wheelchairs had risen from 20% to 25-30%. In 1995 one manufacturer had offered dealer discounts of between 28-34% depending on their total annual purchases. From February 1996, the same manufacturer increased the discounts from between 33-50% depending on the number of products ordered. An article in the Bulletin stated: “At first sight, it might appear that all dealers should be euphoric. However, many have expressed their concern that they believe such large discounts will encourage competing dealers to share some of the discount with the end-user – they will cut their retail prices and promote discounts.” It went on to say: “Dealers now feel that the good work that has been done by themselves individually and by BSTA / BAWD collectively, will be dissipated because they will be forced to follow their competitors and start to sell not on the quality of the product or delivery or after-sales service or standards of customer care, but solely on price.”

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Independent Living Awards, another new name and a ‘hard-hitting’ plan… In 1997, the Independent Living Design Awards became a joint project between BSTA and PHAB. The overall winner was the Enterprise toilet seat from Gordon Ellis. Other winners included the Handy Pillowlift from Mangar International, the Minivator 2000 Stairlift from Sunrise Medical, the Swash Orthosis from Camp and the Lever Tap for drainage bags by Simpla. The winners were announced by TV personality, Bob Holness. It was a period when there was plenty of discussion and debate about the impending CE Mark legislation that would come into force on 14th June 1998, after which it would be illegal to sell medical devices without the CE Mark. It’s clear from the coverage in Section minutes and the Bulletin that a number of companies were struggling with the implementation. Phil Naylor, a Management Consultant, wrote in the Bulletin: “The implementation of the Directive is not a simple matter of pulling together a few technical documents and implementing a conventional ISO 9000 system. It needs careful thought and great attention to detail, coupled with good planning, preparation and a structured and disciplined approach if you are to succeed.” At the beginning of 1998 the spotlight was once again on what the Association should be known as. Chairman Stephen Blatchford wrote: “There is absolutely no doubt that the majority of members consider the Trade Association’s name no longer

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Stephen Blatchford

I remember that the general view of the name BSTA had outlived its usefulness as the surgical trades were a very small part of what BSTA did at the time. We tried to come up with a name in lots of Council meetings and ended up with ASPN, mainly because we couldn’t think of anything better. We took it to the AGM but it wasn’t something that members were very positive about. Then a member, Philip CharltonSmith, suggested that all we had to do was to change the ‘S’ to a ‘H’ and replace ‘surgical’ with ‘healthcare’ and become the British Healthcare Trades Association. Everyone in the meeting rather liked that and the rest is history!


representative of the majority of its members sections.” An EGM took place on March 4th in London when the new name of the British Healthcare Trades Marian Hemming from Hemco UK with Bob Association was passed by a large Holness at the first ILDA lunch with PHAB. majority. The new name would be implemented in August to give members time to prepare for the change. Clearly not everyone was happy with the change, which was difficult for some of the surgical instrument companies to accept as Stephen explained: “We should not forget that we were BSTA and the heritage of the Association. Many of the minority who opposed the change felt strongly about the name and we must ensure that the Association continues to represent their interest at least as effectively as it did before.”

Memories from… Graham Collyer

In the late 1990’s, faced with DH/NHS proposing changes to the reimbursement system for appliances in the Drug Tariff, changes which would have had a devastating effect on some of the most vulnerable patients in a community setting, BHTA was instrumental in leading negotiations which resulted in a solution which worked for patients, industry and the NHS.

The new Association name was launched in July at an event at the House of Commons with over 200 people attending, including a number of MP’s and industry guests. Competition was once again on the agenda as each Section appointed a representative to the new Level Playing Field Group which was due to have its initial meeting. The group was concerned with unfair competition and was looking for evidence ‘where the odds have been unfairly stacked in favour of a Government body’. The Association also produced what was described

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as a ‘bold, hard-hitting’ strategic plan for the future. The plan called for a greater focus on Sections to ensure the Association was the lead body for every area it represented. Two new members of staff were proposed, one to provide increased research and information and another to concentrate on membership services and recruitment. It was at this time that Ray Hodgkinson, who would go on to become Director General, took up the role of Membership Development Executive. He had joined the industry in 1962 when he started to work for a pharmaceutical company. Also in this year, the Audit Commission under-took a one-year value-for-money study of the provision of aids and appliances by the NHS and local authorities. It was said to cover some £350m of expenditure which consisted of £240m spent by Trusts and £110m by Local Authorities. The individual spends were said to be Wheelchairs and Prosthetics (£80m), Orthotics (£160m), OT Aids (£50m) and Home Adaptations (£60m). There were a number of personnel changes in 1997. Ian Sherwood, who had joined the Association in 1979 as Secretary, decided to take up another opportunity in the industry and towards the end of the year, Trevor Barker joined as the new Director. Another change occurred as Mark Oaten MP, the Liberal Democrats spokesman on Disability, became BSTA’s new Parliamentary Advisor.

Memories from…Philip Salt

My involvement with the BHTA grew as Salts joined more sections. I ended up on a ladder that led me to becoming the Chairman and later the President. It was during my time as Chairman that we changed the name from BSTA to BHTA to reflect the association’s growth and membership more accurately.

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Also in the 90’s Legislation to extend the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960 to include Prosthetists and Orthotists came into force in February. BSTA has its first online presence with a website page and an email address. The Disabled Living Foundation was awarded a grant of £382,146 by the National Lottery Charities Board to set up a helpline. Health Minister, Paul Boateng, announced additional funding of £30m for indoor/ outdoor powerchairs. An insurance scheme was launched with Norman Butcher & Jones Group Ltd (NBJ). Average savings of 45% are reported by member companies. As from 30th September 1998, Prosthetists and Orthotists had to be registered with the Council for Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM). BHTA appointed Leslie Toulson Associates to act as PR advisors. The Audit Commission undertook a one year value-for-money study of the provision of aids and appliances by the NHS and local authorities. A legal hot-line was opened for BHTA members with law specialists, Simmons & Simmons. The Department of Health reported that the total number of wheelchairs issued had fallen 2.2% to 195,600. Two-seat scooters started to appear in advertisements – The BHTA view was that the products did not comply with requirements for use on the road and pavements.. Two new Sections – The Home Healthcare Section and The Visual Impairment Products and Services Section were formed. 481 Primary Care Groups were created on April 1st 1999. Charles A Blatchford & Sons, won a British Design Award for the Endolite modular system for artificial legs.

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12 members of BSTA attended the ‘Access Men of the Year’ luncheon where Rt Hon Norman Tebbit MP gave the opening address. A new degree course in Orthotics and Prosthetics was announced, to run at Salford University from September 1992. Secretary of State for Social Services, Peter Lilley, announced extra cash for Motability, doubling the funds available to £2m. An Audit Commission report said that if all Health Authorities used their beds as efficiently as the best performing 25%, then 27,000 of the 123,000 beds currently available would no longer be needed. Sunrise Medical announced sponsorship of the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. A further 99 NHS Trusts were announced, to become operational in April 1994. A scheme to provide 1300 indoor/outdoor powered wheelchairs in Scotland attracted strong criticism as less than 100 were allocated in the first year. BSTA organised a joint workshop with the Medical Devices Agency (MDA) following the launch of Guidelines for Class 1 Medical Devices. A new Washer Disinfectors section was set up in BSTA. The Queen opened the Mobility Roadshow at Crowthorne. A two day intensive training session was being offered by Keele University on the subject of Bar Coding. After 30 years in existence, The Kings Fund Bed specification was re-visited.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from…Ray Hodgkinson

I was asked to step in during a period of some uncertainty when it’s fair to say the Association had maybe lost it’s a way a little. Many of the businesses at that time were owned by individuals and clearly had a vested interest in working together but they were maybe a little inward looking too and it was very much about how they could survive and not looking outward to the marketplace and realising that it was all about patients and customers. I spent quite a lot of time chasing around the country in an attempt to bring more members into the Association.


A year of change, a new Director and the Registration Scheme…. Just a couple of years after he had been appointed, Trevor Barker left the position of Director and Ray Hodgkinson, who was Membership Development Executive, was appointed as the new Director in August 1999.

Ray Hodgkinson became Director of BHTA in 1999. Here he is pictured with Bill Powell of Marks & Spencer Financial Services discussing pension provision for members.

At that time, Ray told members: “It is very important that the organisation is adaptable and proactive and able to meet the challenges which face us all in the future. In particular, we need to address the issues of self-regulation and accreditation in order to provide greater confidence in our industry among healthcare professionals and consumers.” The PHAB Independent Living Design Awards, sponsored by the BHTA took place for the third time. The overall winner this year was the Seahorse Sani Chair from Nottingham Rehab Supplies. The Government planned to beef up business Codes of Practice as a White Paper, ‘Moderns Markets; Confident Consumers’ was published. It talked about Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approval for a Code, something that will be important for BHTA as its own Code of Practice develops.

Memories from… Stephen Blatchford

I was Chairman when Ray Hodgkinson came on Board as Director. It was at a time when we were scratching our heads a little about the future direction of the Association. I believe that Ray turned out to be an inspired choice and he has done a really good job representing the industry and driving the Association forward.

1999 also saw work start on the development of an individual registration accreditation scheme. In a Bulletin article, it stated: “The knock on benefits in terms of PR and credibility, both to member companies and the BHTA of developing such a scheme are self-evident.” This year also saw BHTA withdrawing from membership of ABHI, believing that its best interests lay in moving forward as a separate body, but maintaining close links and working together when appropriate. A new membership category of Affiliate Status was also introduced at this time and the membership stood at 320 at the end of the year.

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New role, Protection Scheme, Wheelchair Wise and Lifetime Achievement Award… The year 2000 saw Sarah Lepak, who was the Committee Secretary, take up the role as Registration and General Services Manager, looking after the new registration scheme. Mike Simms, who was Research and Information Officer, became the Member Services Manager. The launch of the Registration Scheme took place in October 2000 at the House of Commons. Gerald Simonds of Gerald Simonds Healthcare and Martin Corby of Raymar Healthcare were the first to submit their applications. Also in October, Minister for Health, John Hutton spoke at the AGM. There was also discussion in 2000 about BHTA introducing an ABTA-style scheme to offer protection to end-users. The proposed scheme would mean that members would honour deposits paid to another member in their locality, should they go into liquidation. The deposit protection scheme would be launched in the summer of 2001. In January, the Wheelchair Wise Campaign was launched. A joint initiative between BHTA and the Department of Environment, Transport and Regions, aimed to increase the awareness of safe wheelchair and scooter travel. Transport Minister, Keith Hill said: “I believe it is an important initiative which will be enormously helpful to wheelchair users and the transport industry.” Accompanying the launch was the publication of a ‘Highway Code’ for scooter and wheelchair users. An online business hub was launched by the Association which was designed to provide members with effective tools when dealing with government agencies.

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An early BHTA exhibition stand.

It included a secure area for the NHS to access members tendering to NHS Purchasing and Supplies Agency (PASA). The Orthotics Section published a report that suggested that the UK orthotics industry was ‘near breaking point’. It said that many companies were operating at a loss or on very small margins and that there was a real danger that a number of them would go out of business.

Memories from… Ray Hodgkinson

We spent some time with the Board and advisors putting together a whole set of governance rules for the Association which made a big difference going forward. Doing that introduced much better succession planning in the Sections. There was no real regular contact with the politicians at that time. It had dropped off over the years and it was quite difficult to recover some of that as there had been changes in governments and civil servants.

In response, BHTA produced a set of proposals aimed at enabling the industry to return to profitability. The proposals were sent to the Health Minister and the NHS PASA Chairman. The Chief Executive of NHS Purchasing & Supply Agency (PASA), Duncan Eaton, sent a response and BHTA was encouraged to see a number of developments including that a move to long term contracts was being encouraged which would help stability in the industry. At the end of the year, the first ever ‘Lifetime Service Award’ which would be changed to the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in the future, was presented to David Hull of Sunrise Medical. David was Technical Director at Sunrise and responsible for product development and design and had presided over a number of product launches over the years.

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First female Chairman, selling controversy, VAT appeal and new Code of Practice… Jenny North, MD of Radcliffe Rehabilitation became Chairman of the Postural Support Section in 2002. Jenny was the Association’s first lady Chairperson for a Section. She said: “When Radcliffe Rehab joined BHTA in 1995, very few women attended Section meetings. That has changed and it is good that we are seeing more women becoming actively involved with the BHTA.” Pressure was being ramped up on the industry as 69 MP’s had signed an Early Day Motion on miss-selling of assistive mobility equipment. It followed a ‘Which?’ report that had painted the industry in a less than complimentary light and a Ricability report which was just as scathing. Meanwhile, the Association was promoting the fact that member companies services and equipment could contribute to reducing bed blocking in the NHS. Two reports, The Wanless Report: ‘Securing our future health: taking a long term view’ and an Audit Commission report: ‘Fully Equipped’ had recognised that investing in the NHS included investing in equipment and services. The Association said: “People that can be treated One of the big changes for the in their own homes not only free up beds, but the Association came when we improved quality of life of being in their own homes started to look at a Code of Practice. It is enormous.” took a lot of time to get everybody on board but it was vital as there were, at Issues with VAT were on the agenda once again the time, a lot of concerns about the too, but this time it was the prosthetic and orthotic industry. I remember that I sat in front Sections that were involved. The Association of a Minister and was told that if we launched a successful VAT appeal on behalf of the didn’t do something about regulating prosthetic and orthotic companies after a problem the industry, the government would. on the application of VAT to professional services That was the message I took back to surfaced. BHTA secured a moratorium on payments the membership.

Memories from… Ray Hodgkinson

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until April 2003 after a meeting with the DoH and Customs and Excise and was a great example of how the Association could help members and how its influence was growing. There were changes in titles at the end of the year, with Ray Hodgkinson becoming Director General and Sarah Lepak taking on the new role of Assistant Director. Ray commented on a new Audit Commission report that had confirmed no progress had been made in assistive technologies provision since the last report two years before. He said: “This report confirms our fear that equipment services are the Cinderella services of the NHS. Services remain under managed and under resourced even though investment could bring real benefits.” A new draft Code of Practice was launched in July 2003 at an event where Government Minister, Melanie Johnson MP was the keynote speaker. The new code was driven partly by the problem of mis-selling in the industry and the feeling that, unless the industry regulated itself, it could be taken out of its hands by government legislation. It was the aim of the Association to gain In the early nineties when the Office of Fair Trading endorsement for the Code of association changed its name Practice, which was described as being ‘arguably from BSTA to BHTA, the association the most influential initiative we will ever do’. had big ideas but insufficient funds

Memories from… Graham Collyer

to deliver them. Through the nineties and noughties the association became stronger, more financially stable and much better managed. It leads the way in terms of political lobbying and in developing an industry code of practice.

At the AGM, new Chairman, Graham Collyer of Shiloh plc, focussed his message on the aims for the next three years, which included improved services to members and becoming the ‘Corgi’ for the industry through self-regulation.

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Andrew Lansley is one of many politicians and senior figures who have spoken at Association meetings over the years.

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Code submitted and then approved, e-auctions issue, a move back to London… Another milestone for the Association came in early 2004 as the new Code of Practice was submitted to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), with BHTA in line to become the first trade organisation in the healthcare industry to gain OFT approval. BHTA was gearing up for a big PR push for the Code, including national and regional press, radio and trade publications being targeted. Completing an important element of the Code, Lord Thomas of Gresford QC agreed to be the independent arbitrator. As technology developed, it meant that companies were dealing with new ways of doing business and not all of them were finding favour. e-auctions, being run by NHS PASA, were causing a number of BHTA members concern. They considered them unfair as they didn’t take into account the service element inherent with BHTA members’ products. BHTA put forward a view that member’s products could not be treated like a commodity such as ‘a tin of baked beans’ and a position paper was produced arguing that they were likely to threaten patient care and safety if price alone was the only purchasing consideration. Chairman’s dinners had been held for a couple of years and it was due to his attendance at one of them that Health Minister, Lord Hunt, invited BHTA to be part of the Healthcare Industries Task Force (HITF) which examined how government could help industry to be more successful and directly influence future policy. The Association contributed to a report by HITF that gave what was described as ‘a resounding endorsement of the role of our sector’. HITF recommendations

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included an improvement in device evaluation, improved training and education on medical devices for NHS staff, building R & D capacity and improving public understanding of the safety and value of medical devices. Ray Hodgkinson commented: “This report really puts assistive technology on the map, at the heart of healthcare in the UK and will help to drive new technologies and innovation.” After many years being located in Sevenoaks, it was time for a new home, with a move back to London and to New Loom House, which was formerly a textile weaving mill. Only a few minutes’ walk from a tube station, the new offices cost no more in rent or rates than the offices in Sevenoaks and were described as being ‘a lot more accessible for members wanting to visit the secretariat’. At the BHTA Conference later in the year, the keynote speaker was Andrew Lansley MP who was, at the time, Shadow Secretary of State for Health. He told a packed room what might be expected if the government changed in the future. Substantial changes to the structure of the Association took place at the end of 2005, with the Board of Management becoming Directors who would then attend Council as observers with the Council consisting of the Chairmen of the Sections. In 2006, two years following the implementation of the Code of Practice, the Association was hopeful that it would soon receive the longawaited Office of Fair Trading Stage 1 approval. It came in the summer and Prime Minister Tony Blair led messages of support. There were also messages of support from plenty of other people too. Bert Massie of the Disability Rights Commission said: “Disabled people deserve and are entitled

BHTA 100 years

Memories from…Sarah Lepak

The adoption of a consumer code of practice has elevated the Association and all our members to a new position of responsibility, with members taking on what are now legal obligations when they join; to inform customers that they are a member; participate in complaints resolution and abide by what is in the Code (and given its content, this means they go above and beyond the strict letter of the law). The striking thing about our members has always been how much they care about their customers and the lengths to which they go to help them. It is what makes working for the Association so unique.


Coloplast win the first prize at the Independent Living Products Awards in 2004. Ed Stewart presents the award to Sue Langan.

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to the highest level of service from the healthcare industry. I very much welcome this initiative”, while Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists added: “We are delighted to see the publication of the Code. It is hoped that it will help to protect vulnerable people from ‘strong-arm’ salesmen and support good sales practice.” Since the introduction of the Code, it was reported that complaints against member companies had fallen from 37 in 2002 to just 14 in both 2004 and 2005, demonstrating that, as a result of the Code, most companies now had an effective complaints procedure in place. Meanwhile, the Beds and Support Surfaces and Seating and Positioning Sections funded the launch of a campaign to raise the awareness of pressure ulcers, which included the development of a website. The campaign was called ‘Your Turn’ and would run successfully for a number of years, increasing the awareness of the issue, the companies and the Association. 2006 also saw the Mobility Vehicles (Distributors) and Mobility Vehicles (Manufacturers) sections merging. One of the reasons given was to bring more regulation to the selling of products online. The Association said that, ‘while it wanted to see internet sales continuing, it wanted to ensure that the services it provides are fair, ethical, robust and properly tailored to the needs of industry and consumers’. Andy Burnham, Minister of State for Delivery & Quality, Department of Health was the main speaker at the AGM this year. He told delegates that one of the chief aims was ‘the delivery of care closer to the patient’s own home which could lead to less hospital based services’.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from… Ray Hodgkinson

We felt that it was going to be much easier to operate if the Association was in London. We kept on being caught out when we were in Sevenoaks as it was much more tricky to arrange meetings quickly with the different government agencies and organisations that you needed to be in front of. We got to know the building as ICB, the company running our insurance scheme, were already in there. We got a good deal to go there and it helped develop the contacts that we needed to have for the future. It made a massive difference very quickly and we were able to arrange ‘off the record’ meetings with the people we needed to be influencing. It was a real stepping stone in the development of BHTA.


Memories from… Mike Sawers

On October 24th 2005 the Department of Health published details of a Consultation ‘Arrangements for the Provision of Dressings, Incontinence Appliances, Stoma Appliances, Chemical Reagents and other Appliances to Primary and Secondary Care’ with a planned closing date of the 23rd January 2006. So began probably the biggest challenge to date for the membership of the two BHTA Sections Ostomy and Continence Manufacturers and DACs (Dispensing Appliance Contractors). Key proposals in the consultation were to reduce Drug Tariff Part 1X reimbursement prices to the manufacturers by 15% and reduce the dispensing remuneration to DAC’s, which at the time was an on-cost payment ranging from 15% to 25% to an amount equivalent to approx. 6% on-cost. Had they implemented, these dramatic proposals would have undoubtedly affected both continued development and innovation of product and service provision and resulted in difficulties for vulnerable patients and the specialist clinicians who care and prescribe for them. Due to BHTA rising to the challenge through political lobbying, contention and debate with the DoH and Delloite, their consultants, the proposed three month Consultation eventually ran for over three years resulting finally in a 2% reduction in reimbursement prices and the same ‘average ‘ dispensing remuneration for DACs . ‘New Arrangements for the provision of stoma and urology appliances’ were introduced by the DOH on April 1, 2010 which included the introduction of payment for extra ‘service’ elements such as nursing advice and support for Ostomates and customisation of product.

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Loan Stores threat, Import Duty battle, 90th anniversary celebrations… There were some important and potentially game-changing issues to be dealt with in 2007. The emergence of a plan by the Department of Health that Loan Stores would be closed and replaced by a prescription based service dominated much of the year for members doing business in that sector. Details of the scheme were presented to BHTA members at a conference in April 2007, when former BHTA Chairman, Julian Cobbledick told delegates: “This is very exciting for the industry and has huge and potentially very good implications for our members.” The scheme was due to be rolled out in just a year. It didn’t quite work out like that though with many heated debates along the way! One of the first major developments was when the Transforming Community Equipment Services (TCES) pilots in Cheshire and Oldham went live in October of this year. DG Ray Hodgkinson said at the time: “What this policy move signals to us all – no matter what sector we work in – is that a sea change is about to take place on how the public are delivered AT products and services.” Another major concern for members in 2007 was a proposed change of duty on imported mobility vehicles. BHTA’s parliamentary representative, MP Mark Oaten wrote about ‘a scandal that has left me shocked and confused’. Mark said: “A series of patchy and vague pieces of legislation, passed through various international organisations from 2001 have resulted in a change of Duty on certain motorised vehicles. The impact of this change will hit both the industry and the consumer hard if action is not taken immediately.”

BHTA 100 years


The annual awards event and 90th anniversary celebrations in 2007.

It resulted in Mark writing on behalf of BHTA to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown and five Parliamentary Questions being tabled. A series of meetings were also held with MEPs and officials at the EU Commission. BHTA also worked with the European Disability Forum with the press and radio being used to highlight developments, with coverage in the Daily Telegraph. Meanwhile, level playing fields were a cause of concern again as this time, the Decontamination Section were faced with challenges. Chairman of the Section, John Hollands of Goldsworth Medical said: “The NHS seems only to want to deal with the big companies, leaving smaller ones with less chance of obtaining contracts. We are trying to find a solution so that smaller companies can trade equally.� At the end of the year, the 90th anniversary dinner and Awards was held at Central Hall, Westminster. Guest speaker, Charles Clarke MP, reflected on the fact that so many of the issues that were being considered in 1917, in such very different times, reverberate still.

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The annual golf day was organised for the first time in 2007 at Foxhills Golf Club in Surrey.

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Rogue Traders, TCES doubts and Drug Tariff saga… The BHTA was getting a good deal of exposure at the start of 2008 as the mobility industry was, once again, under the spotlight with high pressure sales tactics hitting the headlines. BBC’s Rogue Traders programme ran an exposé in which a salesman spent four hours and twenty minutes in an elderly lady’s home in an attempt to secure a sale. Director General Ray Hodgkinson was invited to take part and give expert advice. The TV programme ended with a recommendation that consumers contact the BHTA to ‘get a steer in the right direction’. While tackling pressure selling in the industry was one challenge at this time, another was a move by the NHS Supply Chain to achieve savings, with prices being driven down due to both competition and also a degree of consolidation in the market. Manufacturers were looking to the Far East and Eastern Europe to benefit from lower manufacturing costs. With 28 members in 2008, the Beds & Support Surfaces section was one of the largest in the Association and the ‘Your Turn’ pressure ulcer awareness campaign had now been running for 18 months. Actress and comedienne Miriam Margolyes had become a supporter. Meanwhile, the Transforming Community Equipment Services (TCES) Retail model scheme was under fire as BHTA expressed ‘serious doubts’ about the plans. Representatives of the Association met with the Government Health Minister, Ivan Lewis to discuss concerns and BHTA issued a position paper detailing a number of issues that members had identified. During a busy time for the Association, meetings were also taking place in Brussels with key officials and MEP’s regarding the proposed reclassification of scooters and the implications in terms of import duty.

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It was busy in the Prosthetics Section too as a PR campaign was proposed to lobby MP’s, again about issues surrounding NHS procurement. Chairman of the Section at the time, Stephen Blatchford said: “The Section has two main concerns. The transfer of procurement from NHS PASA to NHS Supply Chain (DHL) and the model they want to impose causes us great concern and affects our ability to run our companies profitably.” There was also concern about a postcode lottery situation where patients got very different levels of service depending on where they lived. With the incidence of diabetes on the increase and the likelihood of more prosthetic limbs being used in the future, the Section was concerned about future funding. The FAME (First Aid Medical Equipment) Section was having a battle of its own over moist cleaning wipes, or antiseptic wipes. Chairman of the Section, Andy Pear reported that the MHRA was suggesting that they should be classified as pharmaceuticals, which would have caused a problem for the industry as there was no license in existence. And, if things weren’t busy enough, Parliamentary Representative, Mark Oaten MP, reported that the ongoing saga of Part lX of the drug tariff relating to stoma and urology/incontinence appliances appeared to be entering its final stages. The matter had been on agenda’s for years by this time with what Mark described as “consultations, reviews and then consultations on the reviews, seemingly all merging into one.” Both the DACs (Dispensing Appliance Contractors) Section and the Stoma and Continence Products Sections had been embroiled in three years of debate and discussion about changes to the tariff which would see many customers deprived of a level of service provided by the DACs. Six consultations had produced what Mike Sawers, Chairman of the DACs Section described as ‘an enormous amount of work’. A seventh consultation had been proposed. Mark Oaten suggested that the Association was “now at the business end”. Once again it was all about saving money and the question was what effect the plans would have on the availability, the range and standard of the products

BHTA 100 years


Mark Oaten was BHTA Parliamentary Representative at the time of challenges relating to Part lX of the Drug Tariff

going forward and, over the past few years, numerous Parliamentary Questions had been asked and debates taken place. Mark wrote at the time that there had been an incredible amount of meetings, not just with Section members and the Patients Industry Professionals (PIPs) Forum but with legal advisors, tax management consultants and a PR company appointed to lobby for the members. Another example of the amount of effort and time members spent on the really important issues that would shape the whole industry in the future. The end of 2008 saw the formation of the Assistive Technology Practitioners Society (ATPS) which encompassed the existing BHTA registration scheme for individuals working in the sector. Ray Hodgkinson said at the time: “Members of the public will know they are to put their trust in a member of the ATPS.�

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TCES rumbles on, Cinderella service claim and full OFT approval at last… By the Spring of 2009, the position regarding the Transforming Community Equipment Services (TCES) programme was becoming increasingly unclear. The Association had serious doubts about the DoH’s financial and market size assumptions, while Commissioners and Loan Stores did not appreciate the need for change and felt threatened by potential job losses. In addition, retailers were not engaging because they didn’t see it as an investment opportunity or any likelihood of it improving their profitability. While the BHTA remained ‘supportive in principle’, two position papers had called for a number of actions from the DoH. In the meantime, along with the National Association of Equipment Providers (NAEP), BHTA had set up the Community Equipment Dispenser Accreditation Scheme. DG Ray Hodgkinson said at the time: “The market seems to be making up its own mind and developing its own solutions.” A Section name change saw the emergence of The Decontamination and Infection Prevention Section. The Chairman at the time, Tony Hamer said: “The members wanted a name that reflects the extensive scope and closeness to current issues that the Section engages in and Infection Prevention should give us a direct hit.” 2009 was significant as it saw the full approval of the Code of Practice by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), after it had been introduced in 2004. BHTA President at the time, Graham Collyer said: “I have always believed that effective self-regulation is the cornerstone of every trade association. I’m sure that OFT approval will be of great benefit for BHTA members, their employees and their customers.”

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The full OFT approval of the Code of Practice was marked by an event at the House of Commons. Colin Brown, Director of Consumer Policy at the OFT said of the code logo: “The use of its logo and appropriate promotional material makes it a brand that shoppers look out for. It’s therefore a powerful marketing tool for BHTA members.”

Memories from… Kay Purnell

It was fantastic to see York Centre of Health Economics, in 2009, and then the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) a couple of years later producing compelling reports from data collected from section members. Both papers were widely distributed to a variety of Government agencies, associated professional bodies and patient groups and we also got a hearing with the then Health Minister, Simon Burns. The drive to raise the profile continued and in 2015 NHS England launched the first National Specification for Orthotic Services and placed patient outcomes at the heart of the document.

A new report suggested that orthotics was treated as the ‘Cinderella service’ of the NHS, but saved four times as much as was spent on it. BHTA had assisted the York Health Economics Forum to produce the report. A review of NHS Trusts showed that for every £1 spent on orthotic intervention, the NHS saved £4 on care it would otherwise have to give. Spending on orthotics at the time was estimated to be £100 million a year.

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Also in the 2000’s The Disability Rights Commission opened with Bert Massie of RADAR as Chairman. In a survey, 63% of BHTA members reported that they had a website, while 80% were connected to the Internet. Care and Mobility Ltd supplied manual wheelchairs with safety attachments to the London Eye. A ‘Track and Trace’ conference in Telford, at which Duncan Eaton, Chief Executive of the NHS Purchasing & Supply Agency spoke, attracted over 100 delegates. A bed rail safety seminar launched with the Disabled Living Centre Council (DLCC) proved to be amongst the most successful ever. The BHTA Scottish Members Group was formed. For the first time, the Lifetime Achievement Award went to a couple – Bill and Elaine Ellis of Gordon Ellis.

BHTA 100 years


Brian Porter of Peacocks became the first ever ‘Employee of the Year’. BHTA was asked to participate on Transport for London’s consultative group for accessibility. BHTA held a Primary Care Trust Conference attended by over 80 members. A steering group was set up for Bar Coding. The Infection Control Section compiled evidence to submit to the House of Lords Select Committee for a report on fighting infection. Sir Digby Jones, former Director General of CBI, spoke at an AGM. A BHTA delegation met with Senior Policy Adviser on Health to No 10 Professor Paul Corrigan. The ‘Know your Industry’ course was accredited as a BTEC professional qualification. The FAME Section undertook a national consultation to ensure that businesses in the UK have up to date first aid kits.

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Industry reputation tarnished, White Paper move, Conference soundbites… In 2010, Director General Ray Hodgkinson was awarded an MBE by the Queen for his services to the healthcare industry. The Association’s profile was raised again in 2010 on national TV, but the Association was having to defend the industry as another ‘Watchdog’ investigation uncovered another dose of what were described as ‘shocking revelations’ relating to selling practices by non-members. At the same time, a White Paper: ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’ was published which represented a significant shift in policy for the health sector. The key focus was the end of Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and a move towards GPs taking control of budgets, which was due to take place by 2013. After a recent White Paper highlighted the need to tackle venous thromboembolism (VTE) on wards, but made no mention of pressure ulcers, BHTA called on the government to make it a requirement that incidents of pressure ulcers were reported in line with NICE guidelines. BHTA estimated that ulcers were costing the NHS over £3 billion a year. Meanwhile, the ‘Your Turn’ campaign was, by now, active in over 40 NHS Trusts, including through a talking leaflet concept delivered by Pennine Acute Trust and Pressure Ulcer Awareness events. Karen Middleton, Chief Health Professionals Officer for England spoke at the annual conference in 2010 and described the then Secretary of State, Andrew

BHTA 100 years


Lansley as ‘a man on a mission’. She said: “He talked about the fact that Margaret Thatcher took 13 years to come up with her plan for the Health Service. His team had produced a White Paper ‘Liberating the NHS’ - in just 60 days’.” Karen also spoke about the work that was ongoing in an attempt to cut the deficit. She said: “There isn’t a single department that isn’t being closely scrutinised in an attempt to drive out waste.” A campaign was being run at this time to ‘Say no to 10%’, a reference to the 10% duty that the EU was still attempting to add to imported mobility scooters, moving them into a category for motor vehicles rather than the existing category of ‘a carriage for disabled persons’. It was described by BHTA at the time as ‘an appalling decision’ and a series of meetings were being held throughout this time in an attempt to ensure the change did not take place. The BHTA forged a partnership with the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA) in 2011, which enabled the companies employing the Society’s members to join and take advantage of the OFT approved Consumer Code.

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Coding developments, Bill discussions, First Aid standard… BHTA was helping to drive a move towards more effective bar-coding as a GS1 UK study showed that a third of nurses were wasting up to 2 hours on every shift searching for missing medical equipment – the equivalent of £900m a year in wasted wages. A standardised system to track and trace equipment and patients, which could provide a platform for the procurement process across the whole of the NHS, was being developed in 2011. That summer, it was announced that GS1 bar codes would be used throughout the NHS to improve efficiencies and to save on procurement costs. The Health and Social Care Bill was getting a great deal of coverage and was being monitored closely by BHTA as it progressed through Parliament. Phrases such as ‘Any Willing Provider’ and ‘Any Qualified Provider’ were being discussed and debated at Section meetings and the industry attempted to work out what the implications of the Bill might be for member companies. A new national standard for workplace First Aid kits was introduced in 2011. It had been 14 years since the contents for the kit had last been reviewed and the introduction of the new standard followed extensive work by BHTA in cooperation with the British Standards Institute. The new kits contained increased quantities of the products identified as being insufficient and new additions such as burns dressings, foil survival blankets, face shields and gloves. A good example of how BHTA and its members work with other organisations to develop new initiatives came with the introduction of a publication focusing on the

BHTA 100 years


A packed room at the 2011 Conference

care, cleaning and inspection of healthcare mattresses. Members of the Beds and Support Surfaces section had worked in collaboration with representatives from the Textile Coaters and Coated Fabrics Industry, representatives of the UK Cleaning Products Industry Association and the Healthcare Ergonomics and Patient Safety Unit at Loughborough University. 2011 also saw Mark Oaten step down as Director of Communications to be replaced by Lord Chris Rennard, former Chief Executive of the Liberal Democrats. Mark said of Chris: “His skills as a campaigner and his contacts and knowledge around Westminster will bring enormous value to the BHTA.�

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New commercial role, new commercial arm, communication and assistive technology event… Early in 2012, Tracey Lloyd joined the Association as Commercial Director, a newly created role in the organisation. Tracey joined from the Royal Town Planning Institute where she had been Head of Membership and Careers. The eCat section (Electronic Communication and Assistive Technology), hosted an event at the House of Lords to push for better assessment processes and funding. 2011 had been designated as the ‘Year of Communication’ at the end of which the government appointed a ‘Communications Champion’. It was estimated that 0.5% of the population may need AAC at some point in their lives. “The way things are going, the way the NHS is changing, the way health care and social care are becoming increasingly intertwined, all of this presents a genuine opportunity for companies like yours to make an even bigger difference. Those of you who rise to the challenge, who lead through innovation, who work closely with clinicians and who focus relentlessly on improving the lives of patients will do well in years to come.” These words, from Earl Howe, speaking at the annual conference in 2012, appeared on the front page of The BHTA Bulletin. The end of 2012 saw the creation of BHTA Engage Ltd, a new commercial arm for the Association. The monthly trade magazine, THIIS became part of Engage which would look to develop new initiatives for members in the future. The Trading Standards Institute became the new guardian of the Code of Practice after The Office of Fair Trading was abolished by the government. It prompted renewed interest in the Code and promised a higher profile with more local emphasis. It was also hoped that the Citizens Advice Service would take a more direct role in advising consumers and be able to direct purchasers towards trusted traders.

BHTA 100 years


Lindsay Stevenson of BES Rehab Ltd collecting the inaugural ATPS Practioner of the Year award in 2012 from Baroness Thornton and Angela Rippon.

Meanwhile, BHTA Engage was busy developing Trade Days, a brand new tradeonly show concept which would launch in 2014, run by experienced show organisers, CloserStill Media Ltd.

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Getting the Act together, producing an advantage, high profile speakers… The Health and Social Care Act was at the centre of much of the work in 2013 and the BHTA was at the heart of discussions with the Government on how growing demand for products and services could be met in the future. It was thought that the size of the market for the products that BHTA members made and sold would grow from £2.5 billion to more than £6 billion in little more than a decade. The Association introduced a new package of exclusive benefits for members at this time. BHTA Advantage aimed to save member’s time and money both for their business and in their personal lives and was available to all employees of BHTA member companies. It included offers on a wide variety of items from motor vehicle servicing and professional development courses, to cinema tickets and holidays. The annual conference saw Dr Vince Cable MP and Leon Livermore of the Trading Standards Institute address a packed room. Dr Cable threw out a challenge to the industry when he said: “The demand is there – how are you going to meet that through supply?” The ‘Your Turn’ pressure care campaign was now working at a more in-depth level with Trusts and CCGs. A particular success story saw one CCG target a 12% reduction in pressure ulcers but actually achieve a 25% reduction in only three months. The influence that the Association has had and continued to have on the development of standards in the industry could be seen once again as a another new British Standard for the contents of motor vehicle first aid kits was developed in partnership by the BHTA, BSI, medical experts, manufacturers and key stakeholders, specifying the components in three sizes of kits.

BHTA 100 years


Manifesto issued, Code gets thumbs up, Shopmobility move, HATS launched… In 2014, with a General Election only a year away, the Association started to write its own Manifesto for the first time. The aim of the Manifesto was to show government, among other things, how it could significantly reduce costs in the acute sector of the NHS. The Manifesto for healthcare and assistive technology was distributed to Ministers, civil servants, parliamentarians and many others, highlighting the role that the industry plays in helping governments to address the issues of obtaining better value and keeping costs under control. BHTA Director of Communications, Lord Rennard, said at the time: “This is a good time for BHTA to prepare a short paper for government, political parties and parliamentarians, highlighting the importance of our sector. All party manifestos will have to recognise that the population is ageing.” The Code of Practice was gaining more awareness and had been reviewed by Trading Standards Institute as part of its quality assurance process. The results of the review were extremely positive, with the strength of the customer complaint process being particularly well-received as being ‘straightforward for customers’. The TSI verdict was that “It is clear to the audit team that the BHTA Consumer Code of Practice is a central feature of what they do. It permeates through all of their systems and procedures and is one of the key attractions for current and prospective members.” The Consumer Rights Bill appeared at this time and the Association spent a good deal of time advising member companies on the implications of new laws that set out what consumers had the right to expect when they buy goods. Another development that would impact on some consumers at this time was the emergence of Personal Care Budgets and the patient having control of how and where their care budget is spent. BHTA were in touch with local authorities,

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highlighting their legal duty to signpost those people who didn’t meet their eligibility criteria to an appropriate provider and suggesting BHTA membership as a useful indicator of competence and reliability. In Autumn 2014 BHTA added a facility in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, which included space for both Section meetings and training courses to take place. BHTA Engage would also be allocated space in the new premises. BHTA extended its influence towards the end of 2014, when it was announced that the Shopmobility network was to come under the management of the BHTA. Chairman of the National Federation of Shopmobility UK, Edward Trevor said: “Both organisations believe working together will help to forge new links and offer even better support for users.” Trade Days, the event that had been conceived by BHTA Engage, was held for the first time in October 2014. The very first ‘trade only’ event in the UK, which was held on a Sunday and Monday, had 149 exhibitors and over 3,000 trade visitors, including businesses from the Pharmacy Show which ran alongside the new event. It was considered to be a real success by both exhibitors and the trade visitors. Richard McGleenan of Drive Medical said: “Trade Days felt very much like a square peg in a square hole.” At Trade Days, BHTA launched The Healthcare and Assistive Technology Society (HATS), a professional body for individual practitioners in assistive technology, with Baroness Glenys Thornton being announced as the Society’s Patron.

BHTA 100 years

Memories from…Kay Purnell

After joining the BHTA board in 2013 I was asked to chair the HATS society - a society for BHTA member employees. Member companies follow the Code of Practice and HATS was set up to allow a members’ workforce to demonstrate ethical practice by individually signing up to a code of conduct. And so, to bring things right up to the present day, we are now working with the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to ensure our members are recognised for their skills when supporting health and social care professionals in a variety of settings and with a wide range of less able, and often vulnerable, clients. It is expected that our customers, the NHS and social care will all demand registration with a Professional Standards Authority (PSA) voluntary register in the near future to help ensure the safety of their clients and HATS is well-placed to support every BHTA member company.


DG change, sad news, focus on children’s equipment… It was all change at the top in BHTA in 2015 as Tracey Lloyd, who had been Commercial Director, became Director General when Ray Hodgkinson stepped down after many years in the role. Ray said at the time: “I have always looked at the job as a form of guardianship and tried to ensure that the outside world has confidence in our decisions, respecting the membership’s ethical standing and commitment to act in the public interest first.” He described his role as DG as being ‘challenging and satisfying’. Ray moved into the role of Director of Public Affairs. There was particularly sad news early in 2015 as the BHTA lost one of its most influential, well-respected and well-liked members. Phil Isherwood, who had been a past Chairman and who was President of the Association at the time, passed away after a short illness. Tracey commented: “Phil, who was also Chief Executive of NRS Healthcare Ltd, was a passionate advocate for our industry and the BHTA and will be sorely missed.” Also in 2015, BHTA and the Children’s Equipment section commissioned new research by the Centre of Economics and Business Research which set out the potential benefits of improving the provision of specialist children’s equipment. The report suggested that more than one in twenty children (5.7%) in the UK was disabled in some way and that the failure to provide equipment was worsening existing conditions and leading to complications which necessitate additional medical intervention. The report also found that it would cost £0.5 billion a year to provide every disabled child with all the equipment they needed.

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Memories from… Anna Waugh, Simple Stuff Works

During my time as Chair of the Children’s Equipment Section I was very proud to lead a working group looking at equipment provision for disabled children in the UK. Working in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research we found that the most vulnerable children are being failed, crammed into equipment which doesn’t fit them or denied the most basic of equipment to help them to live fulfilled lives. In 2014 we published ‘The Economic Benefits of Better Provision of Equipment for Disabled & Terminally Ill Children’. This document demonstrated that the current practice of providing equipment for disabled children leads to worsening of existing conditions and complications which necessitate additional medical intervention. This costs dearly in terms of avoidable pain and suffering, as well as creating a substantial medical bill for surgery, hospital admissions, therapeutic interventions and physiotherapy. The paper has since been taken to the Secretary of State and we are hoping it will lead to a change in how we provide equipment for the most vulnerable and disabled children in the UK.

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The Association lost one of its strongest supporters when President and Past Chairman, Phil Isherwood, passed away in 2015. Here, Phil is promoting the BHTA in an interview.

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Shopmobility developments, new qualifications, busy schedules and current issues… A couple of years after BHTA took responsibility for the National Federation of Shopmobility (NFSUK), April 2017 saw the launch of a directory which contained a full listing of all the federation’s schemes across the UK, helping people to identify where a local Shopmobility may be when out and about. With mobility scooter theft being a continual problem, NFSUK also decided to take action to help try to reunite users with their stolen mobility vehicles. A scheme that was originally started by Littlehampton Shopmobility and the local Sussex Police and involved a local database to assist tracking down the owners of stolen or abandoned mobility vehicles was developed into a national initiative. The Association continued to develop too. Additions were made in the form of two new roles of Research & Support Officers, with BHTA Sections being split into two groups and adding to the decision taken by the DAC and Stoma & Continence Product Manufacturer Sections that led to them having dedicated Section support. The first role covered the consumer and more retail focused sections (mobility, children’s equipment, stairlifts & access and independent living products and services) and the other the more NHS acute/clinical sections (first aid medical equipment, hearing care, orthotics, prosthetics, beds & support surfaces and pressure care seating & positioning). The BHTA Hearing Care Section secured a place on the Hearing Loss Alliance Group, which was made up of all the key regulatory bodies, charities and hearing organisations working collaboratively to influence the sector.

BHTA 100 years


The winners from the 2016 awards evening.

Barcoding, something that first appeared on the agenda in the 1980’s continued to be debated and developed, with issues such as how to deal with specialised bespoke equipment being tackled. Members of the BHTA Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P) section joined NHS colleagues and associated organisations from industry for the launch of a new National Qualification for O&P Technicians. The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Rehabilitation Technologies recognised the skills required to produce orthoses, prostheses and orthopaedic footwear. The course had been developed as a result of a collaboration between BHTA, British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists (BAPO) and the NHS.

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BHTA Engage developed Global Healthcare Trader, a new tool for companies looking to find distributors around the world and for distributors to find suppliers looking for representatives in their country. The new initiative partnered with the Assistive Technology Suppliers Australasia (ATSA) with the Australian Trade Association promoting the new worldwide distributor-finder website in that region. ATSA Executive Officer, David Sinclair, said that the timing of the new service could not be better: “The timing of this initiative coincides with the changing market of AT in Australia with the onset of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) and the Aged Care Reforms. NDIS alone will support over 460,000 Australian participants by 2020 with a full support budget of $22 billion AUS per annum.” The most recent years of BHTA activity had seen the Association grow, both in numbers and influence. Throughout the history, there have been hundreds of meetings and that fast pace continues. For example, in 2016 there were 31 Section meetings, 15 Working Group meetings, 5 Workshops for social media, barcoding and decontamination and infection prevention. Added to that 7 networking dinners were arranged, the Board met 5 times, the Council met twice and there were dozens of external meetings with charities, Section chairs, members, potential members and organisations such as the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) and NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) etc. The Association currently has 11 full-time and 8 part-time members of staff. BHTA Engage has two team members and there is a Co-ordinator for NFSUK. As it has over the past 100 years, the Association represents industry across a whole range of issues – an example in the present day is confusion as to whether toileting and bathing products are classified as medical devices. As it has done for many years and for many companies, the Association spends time gaining clarification and getting the answers so that companies can do business as effectively as possible.

BHTA 100 years


Also in the 2010’s…. Results from customer satisfaction cards showed that 99% of customers rate the quality and service of BHTA members as very good or good. BHTA organised a conference entitled ‘Less Pain, More Gain’ to increase the awareness of the orthotics opportunity to service providers. The first BTEC Professional Certificate in Healthcare & Assistive Technology was delivered in a new format with a two day course in 2010. A BTEC Advanced Award in Stoma and Continence Customer Care course was introduced. Channel Four gave the 2012 Paralympics over 150 hours of coverage. The Health Hub Code Bank was introduced to provide access to barcode information. The first new member induction events were held in October 2013. The BHTA Scotland Group held a parliamentary reception in Holyrood, Edinburgh in May 2014. BHTA attended the Trading Standards Institute Conference to meet over 1500 TSI Officers. The Healthcare and Assistive Technology Society introduced the Practitioner of the Year award.

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A few final thoughts…

It’s a very costeffective and very focussed Association.

BHTA 100 years

When there is an issue, there is no better channel for a common voice than BHTA.

The BHTA stands up for what is right.


Stephen Blatchford Providing a forum where companies can come together and talk about relevant issues is extremely useful. Maybe these day’s people are focussed too much on the short-term and much of what an Association such as BHTA works on are long-term outcomes which are very important. It might be that there isn’t so much for an Association to do at times as there are no big issues to chase, but they will undoubtedly come around in the future and that’s why being a member is so important. I hope that in years to come, BHTA has an even broader representation and more members. It’s a very cost-effective and very focussed Association and they are the strengths that will enable it to move forward in the future.

Graham Collyer As it reaches its 100th anniversary, BHTA finds itself in great shape, with active sections, strong corporate governance supported by a talented secretariat. When dealing with another BHTA member, there is an automatic feeling of confidence, often an existing personal contact; when there is an issue, there is no better channel for a common voice than BHTA.

Kay Purnell When BHTA was still BSTA there was no formal qualification for Orthotists and many ‘graduated’ from being good technicians in the workshop to wearing a white coat and taking their technical skills in to the clinic. That all changed with the introduction of the O & P University courses and we saw graduate Orthotists making it a professional role. However, any Orthotist will admit that their skills will only produce good outcomes with the support of the technicians in the workshop. One of the highlights of the last few years has been the commitment by BHTA members to set up a training course so that technicians can benefit from a gaining a qualification in their chosen field - just as the Orthotists did when the University courses were introduced.

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Ray Hodgkinson As the sector developed after the initial coming together of business in 1917 and those businesses grew and spread their interests the Trade Association was able to identify new areas to represent and was able to become the umbrella for their interests forming sections or mini Trade Associations. That built strength and experience which in turn has brought about a broad base of influence across clinical areas, government, charities and in the last 20 years greater public recognition. The Trade Association has been able to bring together and organise manufacturers to contribute to BSI and ISO standards. This in turn has brought international recognition and given member businesses new opportunities. It has also worked closely with firstly the MDA and latterly MHRA in their development and has provided members with direct access which has enabled members to have a voice in the policy area. By bringing businesses together, to present a common front and one of good ethics and standards it has brought about a confidence at all levels - government, civil service, disabled people and professional bodies.

Philip Salt Although there are some Sections of the BHTA that don’t deal with the NHS directly, they usually need to work with a government body. I believe that being part of a Trade Association like BHTA is a very important part of doing business. Our customers, whoever they are, like to deal with a body like BHTA as the members are the people who are actually active in the marketplace. Whether you are a large company or a much smaller business, the benefits are real and substantial. To thrive, the Association changes with the needs of the customers, whether they are the NHS, patients, or the public. The BHTA stands up for what is right, which is what it has done right from the very first days in 1917. A strong Trade Association is good for the members and also good for the customers too and will be absolutely vital in the future.

BHTA 100 years


Mike Sawers A three year challenge to fight proposed changes in the Drug Tariff Part 1X which would have affected development and innovation of product and service provision was a huge achievement for BHTA. The Initial Consultation eventually developed into 5 Consultations and three extension periods and lasted for 3 years five months, outlasting four responsible Health Ministers in the Labour Government at the time and three Heads of the DoH Commercial Directorate. The fees for the DoH consultants amounted to £3.7m. There were countless meetings between BHTA, Deloitte, the DoH consultants and the DoH and BHTA hired PR and lobbying organisations. The PIP’s Forum (Patients, Industry, Professionals) was also created and was ultimately referenced by DOH. Some 26,000 letters of concern were sent by patients to their local MP and Health Minister. Invitations and visits were arranged for DoH officials to DACs to ‘see the service we provide’, which enhanced and improved the reputation of DACs.

Ian Sherwood Between 1979 and 1997 the Association’s strength grew sufficiently for it to survive the loss of the partner organisations with which it had occupied premises and employed people. It also survived several threats to its own continuity, brought about by an inevitable competition for membership with other organisations within the health care sector and by the approach of the Government Departments at the time. The Association was never during those years the most favoured of the health care sector’s representative organisations, and never the recipient of Government support, philosophical or financial. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, not only did it survive a number of threats but it grew stronger in the wake of each one.

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The end of the beginning‌

Pictured at the first event to mark the centenary, held in Scotland are (from left to right), Alastair Maxwell (BHTA Chairman) Jonathan Scott (BHTA Scotland Group – Chairman), Lisa Barry (Past Chairman BHTA Scotland Group) Dr Mike Winters (Medical Director of the Procurement, Commissioning, and Facilities NHS National Services Scotland) and Tracey Lloyd (BHTA Director General)


A message from Director General, Tracey Lloyd I hope that you have found the history of our Association interesting. 100 years is a very long time and, as you will have seen, a great many important issues have been tackled by a great many people. The Association, in all its forms has influenced, supported and worked with hundreds of companies, organisations and government bodies, many thousand employees and millions of people in need of advice and protection. For anyone who asks the question, what does a Trade Association do, then this gives them a very good idea. Of course, it mostly does what its members wants it to do and there are some excellent examples of how the Association has, over the years, helped to organise members and produce high profile, highly effective campaigns. The world is a very different place to the one where a handful of people got together in 1917 to discuss the possibility of forming an Association. However, something that never changes is the value that people put on the huge benefits of working together and working towards a common cause. A considerable number of people have given up hours of their time to do superb work for the Association since those early days and they deserve full credit for what is, today, a very strong Trade Association that represents the very best of the British healthcare industry.

100 years is indeed a very long time, but maybe it’s actually just the start! 111


Lifetime Service Award recipients The Lifetime Service Awards were launched in 2001 and have been presented to leading and influential members of the industry. 2016 - Dr Barend ter Haar 2015 - Ray Hodgkinson MBE 2014 - Lynn Palmer 2013 - Professor Saeed Zahedi 2012 - Sam Gallop CBE 2011 - John Payne 2010 - Geoff Seal 2009 - Mike Sawers 2008 - David Thompson 2007 - David Garman 2006 - Bill and Elaine Ellis 2005 - Barry Payne 2004 - John Prout 2003 - Gerald Simonds 2002 - Colin Peacock 2001 - David Hull

BHTA 100 years

John Prout was one of the earliest winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.


“I was proud to be awarded the BHTA Lifetime Achievement award for my work in orthotics in 2002. I was surprised, but equally honoured, to be awarded the same Lifetime Achievement Award by the profession (BAPO) in 2008. Surely an example of how commerce and the professions are able to work together.” Colin Peacock

Recognised for services to the BHTA Donald Blatchford • Richard Harris • Mark Metcalfe

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100 years, over 1,000 member companies Over the years, over 1136 companies have been a part of the Association, making a contribution, giving time and helping to develop and implement the policies, strategies and initiatives that have been featured in the pages of this book. 121 Care & Mobility 1st 4 Mobility 1st Call Mobility Limited 1st Choice Stairlifts Limited 1st Step Mobility Ltd 20/30 Labs Limited 21st Century Hearing 24 NRG Healthcare Limited A & D Instruments Ltd A C Tonks (Orthopaedics) Ltd A G Mobility A H Shaw & Partner A M Mobility A R Care Training A.Algeo Limited A1 Mobility (Preston) Limited A1 Mobility.UK.Com A1 Village Care & Choices Home Support A2B Mobility AA Moving Solutions Abacus Training & Development Ltd Abbey Health Ltd Abbey Healthcare Abbey Mobility Abbey Stairlifts Limited Abergele Mobility

BHTA 100 years

Abilia Toby Churchill Limited Ability Matters Group Ltd Ability Superstore Ability World Ltd Abilitystore Able Assist Ltd Able Care Limited Ableworld (UK) Ltd Access Able Limited Access Needs Accessibility Ace Mobility Choice Ltd ACL Mobility Acorn Stairlifts Acousticare Ltd Action Assist Limited Action Mobility Ltd Activate Active Design Ltd Active Mobility Centre Active Mobility Limited Active Mobility Vehicles Limited Actual Mobility Adamas Hardware Ltd Adaptation Station Ltd Adaptive Services Limited


Additional Aids Mobility Limited Advance Mobility Ltd Advanced Stairlifts (Scotland) Limited Advanced Vehicle Concepts Limited Affordable Mobility Ltd Afia Limited Aga Mobility Systems Limited Age Enable AGE Rehab Supplies Ltd Aid To Living Centre AIDAPT Bathrooms Limited Aides To Living Ltd Ainsworth Surgical Supplies Limited Airospring Medical Limited airTeem AJ Mobility Ltd T/A AJM Healthcare AJI / Mobility Compare A J Way & Co Ltd Alba (Mobility) Services Limited Albion Mobility Limited Aldersley Battery Chairs Ltd Aline Mobility / St Helens Mobility Shop All Handling (Movability) All Mobility Limited Allardyce Healthcare Limited Allestree Mobility Ltd Alliance Pharmaceuticals Limited Alliance Pharmacy Alphamed Alphavision Limited Altonaids Mobility Limited Ambucare Mobility & Nursing Equipment AMI Medical Limited Amjo Business Development Ltd AMW Lift & Mobility Services Limited Anchor Mobility Ltd Andrew Parnaby Mobility Services Andrews Footwear Anetic Aid Ltd Anglia Stairlifts Limited Apex Medical Limited Apollo Healthcare International Limited

Aquability (UK) Ltd Aquajoy Bathlifts Ltd AR Care Training Limited Arden Orthotics Limited Arise Mobility Limited Arjo Huntleigh Arjo Med A B Ltd ARTCON Ascent Hearing Care Ash Medical Limited Ashdale Healthcare Ashdown Mobility Ltd ASN First Aid & Hygiene Assisted Health & Mobility Limited (AHM) Assistive Group Ltd Assistive Partner Limited Assured Healthcare (Scotland) Limited Assured Mobility Atlantech Medical Ltd Atlas Lifts & Services Ltd Auto Mobility Concepts Limited B & H Surgical Instruments Ltd B Braun Medical Limited Bathe in Safety Limited Bathing Care Limited Bathroom Basics Limited Batricar Independent Mobility Batricar Mobility Centre Limited Bauerfeind UK Baymed Healthcare Limited BCB Ltd Be Able Mobility Be Mobile Beamer Limited Bee Mobile Bell Mobility Limited Berwick Care Equipment BES Rehab Limited Bespoke Stairlifts Limited Besure Mobility Better Mobility Ltd Betterlife Healthcare Ltd

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Beverley Hearing Ltd Bewick Mobility Limited Bio Technics Limited Bison Bede Ltd Bit Forge Systems Ltd Blatchford BLS Healthcare Ltd Blue Badge Designs Ltd BML Manufacturing Limited BMM Weston Ltd Body’s Surgical Care Centre Bohle Mobility UK Ltd Bolton Bros (Surgical Shoe Makers) Limited Bolton Surgical Ltd Booster Electric Vehicles Boothferry Mobility BootScoota Bostock Health Care Brampton Mobility Brecon Disability Services Brighter Future Workshop Limited Brighterlife Healthcare Britannic Bathrooms Ltd British Mobility Scooters / Mobility Independence British Red Cross CES Division Britton Price Hoists Limited Broby Living Bromakin Ltd Brook Miller Mobility Ltd Brooks Stairlifts Limited Brookwood Mobility Brooles Technical Services Ltd Brunlea Surgical Supplies Limited BTF Mobility Buchanan Orthotics Limited Buckingham Engineering Co Bulldog Plumbing Ltd Bush Healthcare Ltd Byw Bywyd (Living Life) Cyf C & S Seating Limited

BHTA 100 years

C Bolter Ltd C C F Mobility C F Hewerdine Ltd C M Healthcare C N Unwin Limited C Stanley Hearing Aids Ltd C.R. Bard Inc C.V.I.P. Limited Calandine Mobility & Service Centre Caledonian Medical Supplies Cambridge Mobility Candor Care Limited Cane & Able Healthcare Ltd Cane & Able Mobility Ltd Canterbury Mobility Centre (Ableworth) Cantre Mobility Capitol Mobility Services Limited Care & Mobility Ltd Care 100 Limited Care and Independence Systems Ltd Care Centres Ltd Care Direct Lancashire Ltd Care Matters Care Necessities Ltd Care Plus Mobility Care-Ability Ltd CareCo (UK) Limited Carefree Mobility Services Limited Care-Knight Limited CareServ Caretech UK Limited Caring Supplies Carocare Ltd Castle Comfort Stairlifts Limited Castlekeyes Mobility Caterham Surgical Supplies Cavendish Healthcare Limited CD Medical Limited Cefndy Healthcare & Manufacturing Central Mobility Chaneco Change Mobility Limited


Chanter Biomed Limited Chapter Services Group Limited Charnwood Surgical Ltd Charterwood Mobility CHESSCO Ltd Chester Mobility Ltd CHGIP Limited Chiltern Invadex (UK) Limited Choice Mobility Ltd Chris Cheverst Mobility Ltd Christian Hearing Services Ltd Cinque Ports Mobility Limited Clark & Partners Limited Clark’s Independence Centre Classic Stairlifts & Scooter Services Clayton First Aid Ltd Clearwell Mobility Ltd Cleavers Mobility Centre Clinical Engineering Consultants Ltd Clinical Support Surfaces Limited Clinimax Ltd CliniMed Limited CliniSupplies Limited CLS (Access Division) Limited Coastal Linen Supplies Limited Codman & Shurtleff Colin Hurley Business Development Coloplast Ltd Comfomatic Limited Comfort Aids Comfort Mattress Limited Comfortex Limited Comfy Care Comfy Products Complete Care Shop Complete Electrical Solutions UK Ltd Complete Mobility Ltd Complete Mobility Solutions Conroy Solutions Consolor Limited Consort Engineering Ltd Constructive Limited

Contour 886 Limited ConvaTec UK Co-operative Independent Living Limited Cordate Healthcare Ltd Core Medical Limited Cornwall Mobility Centre Cortech Innovations Limited Cosham Mobility Countrywide Mobility Services Limited Countrywide Supplies Ltd CPR Global Creative Software Solutions Credenhill Limited Crelling Harnesses for Disabled Limited Cremascoli Fry Ortho Ltd Crest Medical Ltd Crispin Orthotics Limited Crown 34 Ltd Cube Blue Cue & Jones Ltd Cumbria Care Centre Cyclone Technologies Limited Cymru Healthcare Supplies D F Hartland & Son D M Servicing D M Wood Medical Ltd D T Clayton (Trekinetic) Dacey Limited Daily Mobility Limited Dalesway Stairlifts & Mobility Ltd Dan Medica South Ltd Dansac Limited Dartex Coatings Limited Data Southern Enterprises Ltd DaVinci Mobility DBT Medical Ltd De Smit Medical Systems Ltd Defibshop Delichon Limited Deliver Net Limited Delphic Ltd Denovo Healthcare Limited

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Dental Prosthetic Solutions Dependable Living Depuy International Ltd Devon Hearing Care Limited Digital Hearing Care Solutions Limited Direct Healthcare Solutions Ltd Disability Adaptation Consultancy Services Disability Equipment Services Disability Needs Limited Disability Trading Company Disabled Care & Mobility Ltd Dixon & Hall Ltd Dixons (Surg Instruments) Ltd DJO UK Ltd DM Orthotics Limited DMA Stairlifts Limited DMS Mobility DoAbility Limited Doherty Medical Ltd Dolphin Disinfection Co Ltd Dolphin Lifts Group Domestic Lift Services Limited Dorset Orthopaedic Ltd Draft Wheelchairs Dragonmobility Limited Dreamwell Limited Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare Limited Dudley Controls Ltd Dudley Surgical Appliances Ltd Due Diligence Checking Ltd Dycem Ltd Dynamed UK Limited Dynavox Systems Ltd E & W Footwear Services Ltd E Smith & Co (Surgical) Ltd E.D.S. Mobility Easa Group Ltd Easier Living Easi-Way Mobility Limited East Anglian Mobility Ltd East Midlands Mobility Centre East Sussex Mobility Ltd

BHTA 100 years

Easy Care Systems Limited Easy Living Retail Easy Mobility Ltd Easycare Products Ltd Easystair Mobility Ltd Eco Electric Vehicles Eco-Care Medical Eden Mobility EDPA - Essex Disabled People’s Association Egerton Hospital Equipment Ltd Electric Mobility Euro Limited Elite Mobility Limited Elwell & Co Ltd Embryonyx EMS Lifts Limited Emsec Easy Move Sheets Enable Mobility (Rowlands Pharmacy) Endoscopic Ltd Endynamics Limited Equip-Able Ltd Equipment For The Physically Challenged (EPC) Essential Aids (essentialaids.com) Limited Essential Healthcare Solutions (UK) Limited Essex Cares(Equipment Services Ltd) Essex Surgical Co ETAC UK Ltd Euro Contractts (London) Ltd Euro Medical Products Limited Eurocare First Aid Kits Ltd Eurocare Showers Ltd EV Technology Ltd Evaq8 Limited Excel Elevators Exeter Disability Centre Express IT Computers Ltd Express Stairlift Rentals Ltd Eyeway Signs F C Ashley & Nephews Ltd F. Donald Forbes & Co Limited Fairways Furnishing


Farnhurst Medical Ltd Fast Aid Products Limited Fast-Tec Wetroom Solutions Limited Felgains Limited Fernfields Mobility Ferno (UK) Limited Fifty-Plus Mobility Ltd Fine Group Plc Fino Healthcare Ltd Firefly Mobility Ltd First Aid UK Ltd First Aid Works First Choice Mobility Ltd First Mobility Ltd First Senior Finance Limited Fish Insurance Fit 2 Hear Fittleworth Medical Limited Five Towns Care Centre Ltd Fleinns Medicare Ltd Flexel UK Limited Flexyfoot Limited FMS of Ruislip Ltd Foldyard Services Footwear Findings Ltd FormAL Group Limited Forr Mobility Ltd Fortuna Mobility Fred Storey Ltd Freechoice Property Services Ltd Freedom Mobility Centre Freedom Senior Living Ltd T/A Freedom Mobility Freelift Limited Freerider Luggie UK Limited Frontier Therapeutics Limited Furmanac Limited G Keep (Wheelchair Repairs) G N Healthcare G R Page & Partners G U Medical Systems GBL Wheelchair Services

General Medical Genie Care Ltd Geoff Brooke & Co Gerald Simonds Healthcare Limited Get Up And Go Ltd Getinge Surgical Systems Ltd Gilbert & Mellish Limited GKG Solutions Glebe Healthcare Glenn’s Mobility GNG Group Go Mobility Ltd Go-Active Leisure Ltd Goldsworth Medical Ltd Goodlife Medical Equipment Ltd Gordon Ellis & Co Gordon Medical & Rehab Services Gowrings Mobility Group Ltd Great Bear Healthcare Limited Greestone Ltd Guernsey Mobility H G H Instruments Ltd H&M Health & Mobility Hagger UK Ltd Halfords Ltd Halo Products & Services Ltd Halton Stairlifts Limited Hamer UK Hamiltons Chair & Mobility Centre Hampshire Hearing Ltd Handicare Accessibility Limited Harlow Mobility Limited Harvey Servicing & Engineering Haven Mobility Hawksley & Sons Ltd Haymarc Healthcare Limited Haystack Dryers Limited (T/A Care Dryers) Haze Batteries UK Limited HCS Limited Health and Care Health and Care Healthcare (Midlands) Limited

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Healthcare Distribution Direct Healthcare Skills Training Ltd Healthcare UK Limited Healthmed Supplies Healthy Solutions Direct Ltd Hearing Health & Mobility Ctre Hearing Wolrd Ltd Help in Hearing Help My Mobility Help The Aged ‘Home Shopping Ltd’ Helpful-Tec Ltd Hemcare Group Henleys Medical Supplies Ltd Here To Help Mobility Company Limited Hereford Mobility Herida Healthcare Limited Hertfordshire Action on Disability Hertfordshire Mobility Herts Mobility Centres Ltd Hidden Hearing Higher Elevation Limited Hill-Rom Limited HMS Mobility Solutions Ltd Holborn Surg & Med Inst Ltd Hollister Limited Homecare from the Consortium Homestyle Positive Honest Mobility Hopper Products Limited Horizon Magnifiers Horizon Mobility Limited Hounslow Mobility Ltd Howden Hall Mobility HSC Mobility Limited Hugh Steeper Ltd HumanWare Europe Ltd Hunter Urology Limited Hunters Mobility Services Hydrate for Health Ltd ICR Mobility Ideas In Action (Midlands) Limited iHelp Innovations

BHTA 100 years

Imobisoft Ltd Incus Surgical Ltd Independence at Home Independence Limited Independence Technology (Europe) Independent Living Independent Living Aids Independent Living Mobility Ltd Independent Living SW Limited Independent Mobility Independently Yours Ltd Industricare Ltd Indy Limited Informed Mobility Inhealth Sterile Services Innovation Rehab Limited Instrumed London Intercare Mobility UK Ltd Invacare Limited IPS Ltd IRM Mobility Limited Island Mobility Limited Island Stairlifts (Central Mobility) Isle of Man Hearing Solutions Ltd iTs Designs Limited t/a Alert-it Care Alarm Ivorson Design Ltd J & D Mobility Services Ltd J N Murray Ltd J P Wilson (Surgical Appl) Ltd J R Wooddisse & Co Ltd J&P Healthcare LLP J14 Healthcare Ltd James Leckey Design Limited Jane Saunders & Manning Ltd JCM Seating Solutions Limited JDI Medical Ltd Jenry Limited JFC Consultants Jiraffe JMC Hoist Services Ltd Joerns Healthcare Limited John Florence Limited


Just Care Products Limited Just Ears UK Limited Just Good Prices Ltd Just Mobility Kapitex Healthcare Ltd Karma Mobility Limited Karomed Limited Kats Creations Kavendor Limited Kays Medical Ltd KCI Medical Limited Keep Able Ltd Ken Hall Ltd Kendall & Wall Kent Mobility Limited Kenward Orthopaedic Ltd Kettering Surgical Appliances Key Mobility (Osteopoise) Kinderkey Healthcare Limited KingKraft Limited King’s Lynn Mobility Centre Limited Klyde Mobility Limited Koolpak Limited Kowsky UK Ltd Kudos Mobility Group Limited KYMCO Healthcare UK Limited Labont Lakeland Mobility Lakesway Mobility Laprosurge UK Ltd Launceston Mobility Centre Limited Laybrook Limited Lazarus Mobility LC Seating (N.I.) Ltd Ledger Mobility Leicester Mobility Lester Surgical Ltd Lewis’s Medical Supplies (Pleskarn Ltd) Liberator Limited Lifesigns Group Lift Seat Ltd Liftability Limited

Liftability Ltd Lifting Equipment Services Limited Lighthouse Healthcare & Maintenance Services Limb Solutions Ltd Linet UK Limited Lisburn Hearing Care Lisclare Limited Live Well at Home Ltd LLG Wheelchairs Limited Local Mobility UK Lockton Companies Group Logan Technologies Ltd Lomax Mobility Ltd London Medic Team London Mobility Warehouse LTE Scientific Ltd Lynch Healthcare Limited Lytham Hearing Centre M & C Mobility M & J Mobility Limited M A Smith Associates M J Moss Mac Caring Agency Ltd MacGregor Healthcare Limited Madhouse Software Productions Managing Health Ltd Mangar International Limited Maple Mobility (D.G.T) Limited Mark Bates Limited Marks Mobility Centre Marks Mobility Services & Repairs Limited Marsh Medical Adaptations Limited Marton Training Limited Max Mobility Ltd MB’s Discount Wheelchairs & Scooters Ltd McKelvie Solutions T/A Ovenguard MDC Consultancy Limited Meandi Business Services Ltd Med-Ecosse Limited Medequip Assistive Technology Ltd Medi UK Limited

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Medical Support Systems Medicare Group Ltd Medicman Training & Events Ltd Medinkonsult Medipost Ltd Medistox Limited MediTek Limited Medpage Limited T/A Easylink UK Medserve (Southwest) Limited Medstrom Limited Mendip Mobility Limited Mentor Medical Ltd Merlin Medical Limited MERU - Medical Engineering Resource Unit MG Retail Consulting Ltd Michael Kearney Healthcare Ltd Mid Cheshire Medical Limited Midland Mobility Ltd Midshires Ltd Milandi Mobility Millbrook Healthcare Limited Millercare Ltd Millers Mobility Mills & McKinney Practice Limited Milton Keynes Mobility MK Battery International Mobile Mobility Limited Mobility & Lifestyle Mobility Aid Services Mobility and Care Services Limited Mobility Assistance Mobility Assured Mobility Buy Ltd Mobility Care Solutions Mobility Care UK Ltd Mobility Centre Trowbridge Mobility Choices Limited Mobility Compare Mobility Connect Mobility Conversions Ltd Mobility Direct

BHTA 100 years

Mobility Direct (North) Ltd Mobility Direct Europe LLP Mobility Express Mobility Extra Limited Mobility for You Limited Mobility Homecare Mobility Hut Mobility Independence Mobility Link Healthcare Ltd Mobility Matters Mobility North London LLP Mobility Prod & Installations Mobility Products 4U Mobility Scotland Limited Mobility Services (Doncaster) Ltd Mobility Services Plus Mobility Showcase Mobility Smart Mobility Solutions Glasgow Mobility South West Ltd Mobility Superstore Ltd Mobility UK Solutions Mobility Vehicle Hire Limited Mobility Works Mobility World Ltd Modern Mobility Modern World Data Ltd Molten Rock Equipment Monarch Mobility Limited Moore Bros Limited Moorings Mediquip Moray Hearing Care Ltd Morris & Alexander Ltd Motus Medical Limited Mounts & More Limited Mountway Limited Mr Mobiliser Mr Value Discount Mobility MT Mobility Limited MTM Mobility Ltd Muggi Ltd Mullin & Sons


Multicare My SoS Family Ltd N-Able UK Ltd Nathan Gluck Hearing Care National Mobility National Mobility Hire Limited Nestor Primecare Neves Mobility Services New Co-Ordinates Ltd New Horizons New Life Mobility Ltd New World Mobility Centres Newton Products Ltd Nexus DMS Limited NHC Holdings Limited Niagara Healthcare Ltd NIC Instruments Ltd Nightingale Bathrooms Limited Nightingale Care Beds Limited Nightingale Ltd Nightingale Medical Nino Robotics (Ecorover Ltd) Nopac Healthcare Limited Nopac Midlands Limited Norfolk Mobility Norfolk Stairlifts North West Disabled Care Norwood Nottingham Mobility Services Nottingham Rehab Limited Nu-Drive Europe Oakmed Limited O’Brien Mobility One Rehab Limited One Stop Mobility Ltd Only Lift Services Optelec Limited Optima Low Vision Services Optimum Mobility Options For Mobility (UK) Ltd Orchard Mobility Limited Orthotic Services Ltd

Ossur UK Ltd Osteopoise (Key Mobility) Otolift Stairlifts Limited Otto Bock Healthcare PLC OwnFone Limited Oxford Hoist Company Ltd P R Cooper (Footline) Ltd P V O’Neill Ltd Paddock Mill Centre Ltd Papenmeier UK ParAid Medical Paroh Limited PC Mobility Services PDQ International Ltd Peacocks Medical Group Limited Peak Medical Limited Pearce Bros Mobility Pegasus Ltd Pelican Healthcare Limited Pennington Mobility Performance Health International Limited Personal Mobility Ltd Peta (UK) Limited Peter Brown Ltd Peter Thompson Wheelchairs Ltd Pharmore Mobility Phoenix Medical Division Phoenix Surg Instruments Ltd Pivotell Limited Platinum Stairlifts Limited Platon Medical PLUSS Plymouth Disabled Living Polyform Medical Ltd Portaramp UK Limited Portex Ltd Poshchair Medical Limited Possum Ltd Powerdrive PSR Ltd Powers Mobility Ltd Premier Mobility Premier Mobility Limited

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Premiere Healthcare Limited Prescription Footwear Associates Limited Pressalit Care PLC Prestige Healthcare Ltd Pride Mobility Products Limited Primacare Limited Prism UK Medical Limited Prius Healthcare Ltd Pro Rider Mobility Ltd Proactive Mobility Limited Proactive Mobility Ltd Professional Vision Services Ltd ProMove UK Limited Proteam UK Ltd Proto Magic Innovations Limited PRT Sussex Ltd Pulse Training (UK) Ltd Puredrive Batteries Ltd Q Mobility Services Ltd Qbitus Products Limited QED - Quality Enabling Devices Q’straint Queenspark Mobility Quest 88 Limited R & S Mobility R J Mobility Ltd R Link Limited R Taylor & Son (Ortho) Ltd R82 UK Limited Radcliffe Rehabilitation Solutions Ltd Raemed Limited Rainbow Rehab Raise Lift Services Limited RapidCare Rapley & Co Raymar Healthcare Ltd RB Mobility Services Ltd RBF Industries Ltd RDK Mobility Recare Limited Recticel Limited Redland Healthcare Ltd

BHTA 100 years

Redwood TTM Limited Reed Medical Ltd Regency Care and Mobility Rehab Robotics Ltd Rehabilitation Manufacturing Services Ltd (RMS) Rehability (East Anglia) Limited Reliance Medical Limited Relief Orthotics Ltd ReliMobility Limited Renray Healthcare Limited Repose Furniture Limited Repton Medical Ltd Respond Healthcare Limited Restacare Limited Resus Positive Reval Continuing Care Ltd RGK Wheelchairs Richard Hill & Associates Richardsons of Leicester Ltd Ridgeons Independent Living Centre Rifton Right Choice Mobility Rightcare Mobility Rimmer Brothers Rise & Recline RKS Occupational Therapy Services RNC Enterprises Ltd RNIB Enterprises Limited Road-Knight Ltd Rochester Medical Ltd Roger D Jones & Sons Ltd Roma Medical Aids Ltd Romford Care Centre Rose Health Care Centre Ross & Bonnyman Ltd Ross Care Centres RSLsteeper Ltd Ryde Mobility Products S Murray & Co Ltd S Teasdale (Hosp Equip) Ltd S W Price Medical Ltd Saadia Limited


SAFA Ltd Safe Hands Mobility Limited Safespaces (Cornholme) Limited Safety First Aid Group Limited SafetyGel Saltash Mobility Saltire Healthcare Limited Salts Healthcare Limited Sanders Orthotics Ltd SAP (Trade Affiliate) Sareo Healthcare Limited Sasaki Scan Mobility Limited Scan Mobility Ltd Scoota Mart Limited Scotgate Mobility Limited Scotia Hearing Company Ltd Scotmed Ltd Seating Matters Ltd Select Medical Limited Self Sure Selles Medical Ltd Services to Medicine Seth & Sons Mobility Ltd Seward Ltd Shadowfax Medical Ltd Shake Up Products Ltd Shapemaster Global Limited Shelden Healthcare Limited Shepherds (Hospital Equipment) Limited Sherwood Mobility Ltd Shiloh Healthcare Shimmin Healthcare Limited Shire Mobility Limited Shires Mobility & Healthcare Shreddies Ltd Sidhil Limited Sigvaris Britain Ltd Silk Mobility Simplantex Healthcare Limited Simple Stuff Works Associates Limited Simply Living Aids Limited

Simply Moving and Sleeping Limited Simplyhealth Independent Living SimplyMed Limited SK Handling SLC Care T/A Healthcare Matters Sleep To Feet Smart Mobility Smartbox Assistive Technology Limited Smile Rehab Ltd SmitCare Limited Snowdrop Independent Living SoleCam Solo Mobility Somerton Sotec UK Limited Sound Sense Consulting Sound Sense Training South East Mobility (Mobility Abroad) South Yorkshire Ostomy Supplies Southern Bathroom Solutions Ltd Southern Mobility Centre Southern Mobility Services Limited SP Services (UK) Limited Specialised Orthotic Services Limited Specialist Orthotic Services Specialist Rehab Products Spectra Care Group Spencer UK Ltd Spenco Healthcare Int. Ltd Spinal Products Ltd Spring Chicken Direct Limited Squease Limited SSL International plc St Helens Mobility Shop / Aline Mobility St. John Ambulance Supplies Stair Steady Ltd Stairlift Mobility Limited Stairlift Recycling Limited Stairlift Specialists Limited Stairlift Trader Limited Stairlifts (Scotland) Limited Stanbridge Ltd

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Stanley Stairlifts Ltd Stannah Lift Services Limited Starkey Laboratories Ltd Steeper Steering Developments Limited Step By Step Healthcare Sterling Stairlifts Steroplast Healthcare Limited Steroplast Ltd Stiltz Limited Structured Wholesaling Ltd Stryker UK Ltd Sumed International (UK) Limited Sun Mobility Sunflow Limited Sunrise Medical Limited Suntech UK Ltd Sure Wise Limited Surecalm Healthcare Surrey Mobility Sussex & Surrey Care Centres Ltd Sutton Mobility Centre Symmetrikit Ltd T & S Orthotic Services T J Mattress Specialist T J Shannon Ltd T Knibb & Son Ltd T S Ability Ltd T T Mobility Talar Made Limited Talley Group Ltd Tameside Healthcare Limited Tate Care Taurus Medical Solutions TayCare Medical Limited TCI Seating Techcess Communications Limited Techmed Services Limited Technical Mobility Support Limited Technicare Limited Techno-Vision Systems Ltd Telesensory

BHTA 100 years

Tempur UK Ltd Terry Group Limited TGA Mobility Limited Thackray CF The Able Living Centre The Bambach Saddle Seat (Europe) Limited The Boots Company PLC The Bullen Healthcare Group Limited The Chair Shop (SIT UK Ltd) The Health Scheme Training Service The Hearing Care Centre Ltd The Helpful Hand The Helping Hand Company (Ledbury) The Independent Living Consultants (Risborough) Ltd The Kirton Healthcare Group Limited The Lifecare Centre The Mobility Aids Centre The Mobility Centre The Mobility Group Limited The Mobility One Stop Shop Limited The Mobility Superstore Ltd The North East Mobility Warehouse The Orthopaedic Footwear Co The Outside Clinic The Ramp People The Scooter Club (UK) Ltd The Wheelchair Centre The Wheelchair Lift Co. Ltd Theraposture Limited Therapy Room 1 Thistle Help Limited Thistle Mobility Thomas EMS Limited Thompson Hunter Wheelchairs Thorpe Mill Limited Thuasne Thamert ThyssenKrupp Access Limited TLC T-Med Medical Limited Tonik Mobility


Total Hygiene Ltd (Clos-O-Mat) Total Mobility Care Totally Active Ltd Town & Country Mobility TPG Disableaids Limited Trekinetic (D T Clayton) Tremorvah Industries Trent Direct Trinity Independent Living Tristel Solutions Ltd TRL Limited True Mobility Limited Trulife Limited Trumpf Medical Systems Ltd Tunbridge Wells Mobility Limited Turtle Mobility Ltd TVM Cheltenham Limited TVM Healthcare Limited Tysons Med & Ind Health Ltd U Williams & Co Ltd Ugo Limited UK 3B Scientific Limited UK Hearing Care UK Mobility Services Ltd UKS Mobility Unihoist Limited Uniscan Limited United Mobility Training Uplifto Limited Upson Mobility Vehicles Ltd Uroplasty Ltd Uxbridge Scooters Market V Guldmann A/S UK Vale Care Shop Van Os Medical UK Ltd Vanilla Blush Limited Veritas Procurement Services Ltd Versomed Vessa Ltd Viking Mobility Aids Ltd Vine Seating and Support Ltd Vision Mobility

Visionary Imaging Systems Ltd Visualeyes Vita Care Vita Cellular Foams (UK) Ltd T/A Prima Foam V-M Orthotics Limited Volker Healthcare (GB) Ltd VTB Mobility V-Trak Limited W Munro (Rehab) Limited Wallace Cameron Group Warren Hooker Rehab Ltd Warwick Sasco Ltd Water-jel Europe LLP Waterside Construction Ltd WeCompare Digital Ltd Wel Medical Limited Well Done Solutions Limited Well Preganancy Products Ltd Wellspect Healthcare Wenman Healthcare Limited Wessex Mobility Services Ltd West Country Medical Weston Mobility Centre Ltd Westworld Mobility WHATcare Solutions Ltd Wheelchair Care Ltd Wheelchair Technology Wheelfreedom Limited Wicker Mobility Shop Widgit Software Wight Sound Hearing Limited Wilcare Wales Limited Win Health Medical Limited Wings Mobility Limited Woodcock Mobility Wright Choice Mobility Ltd Xavier Footwear Yorkshire Care Equipment LLP Your Home Safe Z-Tec Mobility

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“ I hope, as the years go on, we shall be able to say… this firm is a member of the Association; I know their work is good.” Mr Arthur W Down, Chairman, 1917

BHTA 100 years  

British Healthcare Trades Association The story of the conception, development, growth and achievements of a Trade association that has made...

BHTA 100 years  

British Healthcare Trades Association The story of the conception, development, growth and achievements of a Trade association that has made...