Hospital bed supplier warns driver shortages threaten healthcare supplies ahead of winter surge
Direct Healthcare Group (DHG), one of the largest healthcare manufacturers in the UK, has called for an urgent resolution to the ongoing UK supply chain issues caused by driver shortages.
The Wales-based medical devices manufacturer – which supplies over 56,000 specialist mattresses each year to NHS Trusts and private facilities across the UK – has warned that the current situation threatens the UK’s healthcare system.
It has forecast that should the disruption continue, the company will be unable to maintain a continuous supply of medical products to hospitals, care homes and private care facilities during the critical winter surge period.
Graham Ewart, CEO of Direct Healthcare Group, commented: “We need an urgent resolution to the haulage and freight issues occurring within the UK.
“Over the past month, we have seen a dramatic reduction in the speed and quantity of supplies coming through to our Caerphilly plant, combined with increased freight costs as driver shortages take effect.
“We have been lucky so far that as a UK-based manufacturer, we have been able to quickly adapt internal processes and minimise impact, however, if these delays continue, they will undoubtedly begin to affect the provision of our services.”
He added that while the UK prides itself on the fact that the NHS provides care for all, hospitals cannot function without their supply chains.
Graham continued: “I am very concerned that the catastrophic combination of the lorry driver shortage, the pandemic and Brexit is taking a severe toll on the whole healthcare system. If this level of disruption continues, and we are unable to maintain our continuous supply of beds, mattresses and apparatus, it’s not just our business, but ultimately the hospitals and therefore the patients who will suffer.
“As we come through this latest phase of the pandemic, and now with real concerns over a new winter surge, we need confidence that our economy, and ultimately, our healthcare system, can stay afloat.”
Founded in 2009, Direct Healthcare Group is a manufacturer of pressure care management solutions, moving and handling equipment, specialist seating and bathroom safety solutions for hospitals, acute care environments, residential care homes and private homes.