UK ‘dangerously over reliant’ on China for medical provides regardless of Prime Minister’s 2020 pledge: report
The British Nationwide Well being Service (NHS) over the previous two years has tripled its spending on Chinese language-made medical provides, spending greater than $7 billion in 2021.
“Earlier than the pandemic hit solely 6 p.c of important medical provides had been shipped in from China a determine that has now shot as much as virtually a sixth,” mentioned Robert Clark, writer of the research and head of protection and safety at Civitas. “Issues like gloves, displays, wheelchairs and bandages all largely come from China somewhat than the UK. We’re dangerously over reliant on China.”
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British assume tank Civitas analyzed supplies utilized by the NHS and located that Britain has sourced 17% of its most important supplies from China, triple the quantity from earlier than the pandemic, and the NHS continues to closely depend on Chinese language items for the “Catastrophe Aid Record.”
The listing consists of supplies reminiscent of biohazard testing; consumables together with oxygen, needles and syringes; and medical masks and robes. Of these supplies, the NHS imports 90% of all paper masks, 54% of all gloves and round 80% of bandages.
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Civitas has known as for an emergency safety act to extend diversification over fears that China “might change off medical provides” in future discussions.
“Let’s not be naive about China,” Clark mentioned. “That is an pressing situation for well being bosses with the chance that future geopolitical spats might result in the Chinese language switching off important medical provides destined for the NHS.”
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to “finish reliance on China” for very important medical provides in 2020 as a part of an effort to “repatriate” key manufacturing capabilities and enhance the U.Ok.’s self-sufficiency, The Occasions reported.
“It’s in regards to the diversification of provide traces so we’re not depending on particular person international locations for non-food necessities,” a authorities supply mentioned on the time of Johnson’s initiative.
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However the Civitas research signifies that Parliament has finished the other.
“When the pandemic hit we had been caught napping and needed to go ‘cap in hand’ to China to maintain the NHS afloat – the well being equal of going to the IMF for a mortgage within the Nineteen Seventies,” Clark argued. “Due to this we are actually sending the Chinese language authorities over £6 billion a yr in UK taxpayers’ money to import primary medical provides.”