Practical Principles of Ethical Procurement of PPE

Following the survey CCCV conducted in June 2020 below is the order of the priority/checks for PPE suppliers when assessing a suitable supplier

Single use products (masks, gloves, aprons, nappy bags, shields/goggles)

  • NHS supplier/ETI + UK manufacturer (manufactures  the supplies in the UK)
  • NHS supplier/ETI + manufactures abroad (manufactures aboard - we should be asking who they get stuff to the UK = shouldn’t fly)
  • NHS supplier/ETI + doesn’t manufacture (we should be asking who they get stuff to the UK = shouldn’t fly)
  • UK manufacturer & supplier (isn’t NHS supplier but since they manufacture in the UK we can rely on compliance with local law)

Ideally, we don’t get beyond this list, unless it’s absolutely necessary - it should only be in exceptional circumstances.

Sanitizing/cleaning products (sanitizing hand gel/other cleaning)

  • All of the above applies
  • Alternatively - high score on Ethical Consumer
  • Not tested on animals

Ethical procurement in care equipment

There are 2 main sources of ethical standards which can be used for assessing ethical procurement of care equipment.

  1. Ethical Trade Initiative
  2. NHS Supplier Code of Conduct (based on LSASs)

Both draw on international law arrangements: UN Declaration of Human Rights and International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.

The main points are:

  • Employment is freely chosen/no forced labour
  • Freedom of association and right to collectively bargain is respected
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • No child labour is used
  • Living wages are paid
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • No discrimination
  • Regular employment is offered
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
  • There is business continuity planning (NHS)
  • No bribery/improper payments (NHS)
  • Environment - compliance with local environmental legislation (NHS)

BMA (British Medical Association): Fair Medical Trade

Ethical procurement for health - overview

Ethical procurement for health - full handbook

NHS Labour Standards and Assurance Systems (LSASs)

Supplier Code of Conduct

Ethical trade initiative - Base Code