John O’Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of Ability Matters Group image
John O’Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of Ability Matters Group

The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) has confirmed that John O’Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of Ability Matters Group, and Ben Taylor, Director of Taycare Medical, have been appointed as the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Sections.

With over 13 years of experience in the prosthetics and orthotics industry, Ability Matters Group CEO John O’Byrne joined his father’s business in 2008, having initially worked in project management in both the public and private sector.

Over the past two years, John has been an active member of the BHTA and has been involved in the Wheelchair Services Working Group, helping coordinate the industry’s impressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, John has sat on the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO)’s Executive Committee since 2019, supporting its mission to improve the quality of life for those who may benefit from prosthetic, orthotic, mobility and assistive devices.

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John O’Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of Ability Matters Group, commented: “I am very passionate about the prosthetics and orthotics sector, and have put myself forward for BHTA Chair to continue the good work that has been done regarding tackling national issues.

“I am delighted that I will be working with Ben, and hope that together we can work to act in the interests of the Sections. I very much believe that we have much more in common than that which divides us, and look forward to engaging more with everyone in the coming months.”

Supporting John is sector veteran Ben Taylor, Director of Taycare Medical, as Vice Chair of the Orthotics and Prosthetic Sections. With more than two decades of orthotics experience, Ben’s time with Taycare Medical has seen him work across a range of different areas – from shaping strategic direction to developing the company’s business systems.

The family-driven company specialises in providing orthotic services and custom-made products that make a difference to people’s daily lives. Taycare Medical is also one of the BHTA’s longest-standing members, supporting the association for over 83 years.

Ben Taylor, Director of Taycare Medical, commented: “I believe the BHTA can help the industry to manage change for the better. I have played a largely supporting role with the BHTA over the years, and I try to attend most section meetings and input where necessary. However, I feel we are at a critical junction in our industry’s journey, and I would like to be part of shaping the future.

“The past 12 months have been turbulent for us all. I said to our business at some time during the first lockdown that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reset, and I truly believe we can collectively make a difference that will benefit the industry and our service users.

“I look forward to working with John and the rest of the section to deliver the best value for our members.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething recently announced a £700k fund to provide specialist Microprocessor Controlled Prosthetic Knees (MPK) to eligible patients in Wales, providing enhanced mobility, increased independence and safer walking.

Dr Simon Festing, Chief Executive Officer of the British Healthcare Trades Association, commented: “We are delighted that John and Ben have stepped up to support the association and the members of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Sections during this important time.

“From the recently proposed changes to the NHS provider selection regime, to ongoing issues related to Covid-19, both Sections have important roles to play in ensuring the needs of members and service users are championed.

“With their experience and knowledge of the sector, along with their passion to bring about positive change in the industry, we are confident John and Ben will help ensure these Sections are active in the changes and challenges ahead.”

The BHTA is one of the oldest healthcare associations in the UK, representing over 400 companies in the healthcare and assistive technology industry. It supports its members to help ensure the best outcomes for the most vulnerable in society.

All BHTA members are committed to adhering to the association’s Code of Practice – the only code in the industry approved by The Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

Last month, the trade association appointed Mark Baumann, Head of Sales for NRS Healthcare’s Product Sales Division, as the new Chair for the Independent Living and Mobility Sections. According to the association, the appointment will help drive meaningful discussions around mobility and independent living.

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