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DHSC publishes review of risk of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in NHS supply chains

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As part of the UK government’s world-leading ambition to tackle modern slavery, the Department of Health and Social Care has today published the Review of the risk of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking in the NHS supply chain.

Building on the Modern Slavery Act, the Health and Social Care Act 2022 committed the Secretary of State to deliver a review into the risk of modern slavery within NHS supply chains and set of recommendations to mitigate these, by the end of 2023.

The review found that:

  • Almost 2 in 3 suppliers reviews were identified as at low risk of modern slavery.
  • Almost a fifth of suppliers were required to have a Modern Slavery Statement, but almost half of them had chosen to complete one, demonstrating proactive steps towards eradicating modern slavery.

This review maintains the government’s steadfast commitment to eradicating modern slavery from the UK’s healthcare system. Working across complex UK and global healthcare supply chains this review considered over 1,300 suppliers representing 600,000 NHS products to identify modern slavery risks and build a more ethical and reliable UK health system.

In delivering the recommendations of the review the department will work in partnership with NHS England and NHS Supply Chain to:

  • Lay new regulations, as required by Section 81 of the Health and Care Act 2022, which set standard rules for procurement of healthcare products and services;
  • Develop a cross-government response to map supply chains to improve knowledge and where action must be taken;
  • Enable NHS staff to better understand and address modern slavery risks.

The department, NHS England and NHS Supply Chain will make every effort to eradicate modern slavery in healthcare supply chains, striving to take appropriate action where feasible.

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