The NHS has become 'dangerously over-reliant' on China for vital medicines and supplies, a report has warned.
One in six medical items used in UK hospitals — including needles, bandages and oxygen — are shipped from the communist state.
Thinktank Civitas found that overall NHS dependency on Chinese supply chains has trebled since 2019, with the UK now sending £6.2billion a year to Beijing for medical gear.
Security experts are now calling for an 'NHS Security Act' to wean Britain off Chinese medical items and start manufacturing more domestically.
Civitas looked at 228 medical items on the Government's disaster relief list — which include drugs, tests, medical devices and personal protective equipment (PPE). The team found that 17% came from China in 2020, up from 6% before the pandemic.
The report found up to a third of tests and diagnostic equipment and 30% of PPE used in the health service now come from China.
Almost all paper masks used by medics in hospitals come from China (90%), more than half of all gloves (54%) and almost 80% of bandages. And 42% of emergency trolleys and wheelchairs are Chinese-made.
Robert Clark, head of defence and security at Civitas, said: 'Things like gloves, monitors, wheelchairs and bandages all largely come from China rather than the UK. We are dangerously over-reliant on China."
"Let's not be naïve about China. This is an urgent issue for health bosses with the risk that future geo-political spats could lead to the Chinese switching off critical medical supplies destined for the NHS."
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Source: Mail Online,17 May 2022