Hospital bed supplier 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.

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Graham Ewart, DHG
Graham Ewart, CEO of Direct Healthcare Group

Graham Ewart, CEO, comments: “We need an urgent resolution to the haulage and freight issues occuring within the UK.

“At DHG, we manufacture over 56,000 bed mattresses per year for hospitals and care homes, products which are critical components to ensuring healthcare capacity needs are met and that patients receive the best care possible.

“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.

“In the UK, we pride ourselves on the fact that our health service provides care for all, however hospitals cannot function without their supply chains.

“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 thorugh 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 and headquartered in Caerphilly, Wales, DHG employs over 600 people and has a direct presence in five European countries, with its products distributed in a further 35 international markets.

Awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2021, in February DHG was ranked fourth in the 2021 annual HSBC International Track 200. It also won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2016.

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