Forkhill firm claims Health Service losing out on £1.2m savings

Paddy Smyth, managing director of Best Putra Gloves in Forkhill

A SOUTH Armagh company that distributes surgical gloves throughout Ireland says the Northern Ireland Health Service is losing out on savings totalling £1.2 million.

Best Putra Gloves in Forkhill sells its highly-rated sterile and non-sterile products to doctors, dentists and veterinarians, but has been unable to win business from the Health Service - despite meeting the strict requirements for inclusion in the list of approved medical suppliers.

The company, which has been trading since 2010, says its product range offers value-for-money and could deliver savings to the hard-pressed Health Service totalling £1.2 million over three years.

Managing director Paddy Smyth says: “We're selling well in the private market with satisfied customers on both sides of the border. Our business has grown in five years, but we know we could do much more if we were able to sell into hospitals.

“It might not seem like a big saving, but £1.2 million could provide more than 100 hip operations, almost 500 cataract operations, 3,000 hospital bed days or 350 new hospital beds.

"Anything that delivers quality at competitively priced rates deserves to be looked at closely. The benefits are appreciable and simply cannot be ignored."

He added: “We've gone to great lengths to explain the benefits of our gloves and how they are priced, but we're finding it really difficult to convince the Health Service of the benefits.

“We will be redoubling our efforts to break into the Northern Ireland Health Service supplier market.

"Of course, it would be good for business if we sold more to hospitals and surgeries, but it would also be beneficial for the Health Service and, ultimately, the taxpayer.”

Best Putra Gloves also sells into the lucrative GB market from its Armagh base.

The company was recently included in the list of approved suppliers for 230 health trusts in GB, which opens up a market worth millions of pounds a year.

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