On Wednesday 5 July 2023, the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) held its first joint meeting for the Children’s Equipment, Independent Living, and Mobility sections, which received high praise from attendees.
The event took place in the scenic countryside setting of Walton Hall Hotel and Spa in Warwickshire, where guests were served arrival tea, coffee, and pastries, along with a buffet lunch.
It was a chance for BHTA members and key stakeholders to come together face-to-face to network and gain insights from knowledgeable speakers on a diverse range of relevant and important topics.
The following sessions took place:
- Glynn Jones, Deputy Agent for the West Midlands & Oxfordshire for the Bank of England, who presented a UK economy forecast
- Susan Roe, Trade & Customs Specialist, and Sandra Cooper, International Trade Consultant, both from the Institute of Export and International Trade, who shared key considerations for firms when exporting to the EU and beyond
- Professor Laure Rowe, Founder of Red MedTech, who discussed medical device registration
- Gurvinder Kaur, Consultant Solicitor – Public Law & Education (SEN), from Taylor Price Solicitors, who spoke about education, health and care (EHC) plan training for disability equipment suppliers
- Andrew Stevenson, BHTA President and Wheelchair Alliance Committee Member, who gave an update on the Wheelchair Alliance
- Bill Lee, Head of Policy and Compliance at the BHTA, and Nigel Woods, Administration and Complaints Officer at the BHTA, who shared updates to the BHTA Code of Practice and how the BHTA complaints process works
- Chris Woods MBE, Founder of Flying Disabled, and Josh Wintersgill, Founder of ableMove, who delved into wheelchairs in aircraft cabins
- Jabir Khalifa, Head of Product Delivery at Purple Tuesday, who spoke about Purple Tuesday
- Bill Lee also gave a quick policy update
BHTA members could also attend a 1:1 export clinic with the Institute of Export and International Trade.
Reflecting on the event, David Stockdale, BHTA Chief Executive, said: “This was the first time we’ve held a joint section meeting for the Children’s Equipment, Mobility, and Independent Living sections, and it is great to see how well the event has been received by members.
“We are continually looking at ways to improve BHTA membership to ensure it is relevant, beneficial, and valuable. This joint meeting is a brilliant example of what can be achieved when we collaborate across sections and underlines just one of the benefits of being a BHTA member.
“Thank you to all of our speakers and members who attended for making the day a big success.”
The joint section meeting has also had a positive response from BHTA members.
Hayley Phillippault, Chair of BHTA Children’s Equipment section, commented: “We brought together a diverse group of speakers to address topics that matter to members across the sections, from the future of the UK economy to new innovations in accessible aviation.
“From my perspective as Chair of the Children’s Equipment section, the session delivered by Gulvinder Kaur from Taylor Price Solicitors on EHCPs (Education, Health and Care Plans) was particularly enlightening. I have already shared some of the advice she gave in her presentation with a parent currently going through the EHCP process.
“In each session speakers provided actionable advice and resources to the members who attended, which underlines the practical value to members of BHTA membership.”
Veronica Downing, Vice Chair of BHTA’s Independent Living (Retailers) section, remarked: “The whole day’s programme was interesting and informative, even if, as a retailer, Rehability does not export and import goods directly!
“Although I am not an economist, the presentation by Glynn Jones from the Bank of England was fascinating, understandable, and it was so helpful to see the issues of finance, legislation and the economy that are impacting on the healthcare industry within the context of the UK, Europe and globally and how they impact on our own businesses and the consumer.
“In the afternoon, case studies and videos of practical demonstrations of equipment, design in the making and real-life application to improve wheelchair users experience as air passengers helped to break up more intensely informative sessions.”
Simon Tempest, Vice Chair of BHTA’s Mobility section, said: “I thought the day was very well put together, the venue, the speakers, and the content were all well organised. It was also a good opportunity for networking and spending time with industry experts I would not usually get the time with.
“My highlights were the presentation and insight from the Bank of England, as well as the regulatory segment. I also enjoyed the presentation about the potential for individuals to have the ability to travel with their powerchair or mobility device directly on an aircraft.”
Stephen Kirkpatrick, Vice Chair of BHTA’s Children Equipment section, added: “The sessions that were provided by consultant speakers were educational and incredibly relevant to inform the complexities of operating in provision to today’s healthcare market in the UK, particularly the import, export and shipping sessions that helped to distill much of the operational requirements as well as conformity to regulation into an easy-to-understand session.
“My key highlight was the education, health and care plan session presented by Gurvinder Kaur. This subject holds great relevance to us as assistive technology suppliers to the home and school markets and the deeper understanding can help us in turn to inform healthcare professionals and families on their statutory rights to optimised and supported provisions that enable maximised opportunities to access to learning.
“Following years of online meetings, it was incredible to come together as separate sections to share a joint experience full of informative and engaging subjects with highly knowledgeable speakers. Amazing things happen when we come together and we engage.”
Sarah joined BHTA in April 2018.
After graduating with a Masters in English Language from De Montfort University, Sarah works across all BHTA publications (including AT Today and THIIS).