Clear, practical advice on daily living equipment
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bathlifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. If they have been designed specifically for use by older people or disabled people, some riser recliner chairs and specialised seating are also covered by the MHRA. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.
Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported via the MHRA website www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency or their Adverse incident centre 020 3080 7080
The British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) is the UK's largest healthcare association. It has about 380 member companies comprising both large and small businesses across the healthcare industry. The products these companies make and supply are very varied including daily living aids, wheelchairs and scooters, stairlifts and seating.
Members of the BHTA sign up to a code of practice designed to ensure the public can trust that members will give a good service, and a high standard of behaviour. You can request a copy of the code of conduct from a member company or from the BHTA.
If you are not satisfied with a product or service from a BHTA member you should start by complaining to the company from whom you bought the product or service and see if the problem can be resolved. Write down who you speak to and the date, keep a copy of any letters. If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint then the BHTA's complaints conciliation service attempts to resolve the issue without having to go to court. If conciliation attempts fail, independent adjudication (Arbitration) is available.
Anyone wishing to complain to the BHTA should write a letter detailing what occurred and enclose copies of any relevant paperwork to:
BHTA, New Loom House, Suite 4.06, 101 Back Church Lane, London E1 1LU or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The company may belong to a different trade association, such as the Telecare Services Association (TSA) or the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA). If it does then you may be able to seek advice from that trade association and inform them of your experience.
If the company you wish to complain about is not a member of a trade association we recommend you consult Citizens Advice Consumer Service. The Citizens Advice Consumer Service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. The Citizens Advice Consumer Service website and the Citizens Advice Consumer Service helpline 0345 404 0506