NHS Ocean Elevator Pitch

I am Nicki Dill, Chair of Barema, the Association for Anaesthetic and Respiratory Device Suppliers, representing over 65% of companies that manufacture or supply anaesthetic and respiratory equipment in or to the UK, enabling the sector to work with the medical profession and stakeholders to maintain its enviable reputation for exceptionally high levels of quality, safety, reliability and innovation, and the best possible anaesthetic and respiratory care.

UK Healthcare has 4,060 companies, representing roughly 5% of a global industry that produces over half a million different types of medical devices. Currently, almost half of companies in the sector do not have either R&D or manufacturing facilities in the UK and a quarter are looking to expand here in the next year.

A large proportion of Barema members use ships to transport healthcare goods into the UK, using a freight forwarder to manage logistics and are crucially aware of the impact from ship emissions in logistic operations.

Becoming ocean-friendly certainly isn’t an easy task for Suppliers. However, they have stepped up to the challenge and are increasingly concentrating on using lower emission and polluting carriers and working with supply chain to reduce adverse environmental impacts.

With the health and care system being responsible for an estimated 4 – 5% of the country’s carbon footprint, Barema is keen to secure supplier engagement, promote sustainability and work to reduce the impact on the environment, which in turn, may affect health, wellbeing, and economies both now and in the future. To this end, Barema has formed a Special Interest Group which will facilitate close collaboration with the NHS, Association of Anaesthetists, member companies and other professional organisations. This complements our representation on the Association of Anaesthetists Environmental and Sustainability Committee, supports the “Barema and Association of Anaesthetists Environmental Award” and will promote further dialogue between the NHSEI and Industry.

Following the UK’s Government commitment to reaching net zero carbon by 2050, the NHS announced their target of achieving net zero carbon emissions (direct) by 2040, net zero carbon emissions (indirect) by 2045 and is now committed to delivering a “Net Zero” NHS. Within this ambitious strategy, focus is being applied to container shipping of medical devices and supplies.

In an ideal world, Suppliers would prefer to purchase and manufacture devices, as locally as possible, within the UK. However, due to the availability and cost of materials and services this is not possible and as Suppliers move towards ocean-friendly shipping this inevitably will, in some cases, affect the cost of goods, presenting an even greater challenge for SMEs.

Notwithstanding, we fully support the vision of NHS Ocean and remain committed to highlighting the impacts of the healthcare sector on both the ocean and human health.

Useful Links:

Oceanic And Human Health | NHS Ocean (healthcareocean.org)