NHS England will be banned from using products and services linked to slavery or human trafficking under a law making its way through parliament.
A government amendment to the Health and Care Bill would ban NHS supply chains from carrying goods involving any kind of slave labour, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it is hoped the move will “eradicate” slavery from supply chains and make the NHS more responsible for assessing individual suppliers.
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“I want this to be a turning point in the UK’s mission to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in supply chains around the globe,” he said.
“As the biggest public procurer in the country, the NHS is well placed to spearhead this work.”
Those who had campaigned for the change include senior Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith.
Sir Iain welcomed the move on Friday, posting on Twitter: “I welcome this significant move by Sajid Javid to outlaw the purchase of goods and services that come from companies and countries where there is slave labour.
“Those of us who are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China have campaigned hard for such a change; it’s good to know this will now happen.”
The amendment was tabled to the Health and Care Bill on Thursday and will be debated by MPs on Monday.